Days 43 – 47: Cha-Cha-Cha-Changes

The first term of the year ended just prior to Fall Break and the second term began, and with it some changes. Three students decided they wanted to move into “regular” classes. The term “structure” gets used a lot in these conversations, but I don’t necessarily think it’s the right term. Mosaic is chalk full of structure, it’s just not so obvious in a less compliant environment like ours. Structure is sought, communicated, and not, well, standardized. Nevertheless, if a student needs a move, we have no choice but to honor the decision.

On a practical note, after the moves were made there were immediately noticeable changes. Some students can distract and influence others in ways that are not necessarily desirable. Enough said?

Oh, I’m told there are eight students who want to join Mosaic… in January.


We created our “Interim Narrative Assessments” and have sent them along to our families. The process we tried this term looked like this:

  1. Students reflect on their progress on projects and such.
  2. Teachers commented on student reflections and advisement teachers completed the “Academic” portion of the document.
  3. Parents are encouraged to reflect on the document and make appropriate comments.

Some of the documents contain a ridiculous amount of feedback from several teachers – they are incredibly descriptive.

Others were harder to complete due to several factors, but chief among them would be a lack of communication. Students doing “regular school” in Mosaic usually fall into this category. I think we found that the students who are really hitting it out of the park are extremely easy to discuss constructively – they’re just doing so much and are active in their learning.

The others will get there…

Here’s a critical comment from a parent who, in my opinion, is having a hard time with the pointed feedback.

parent critical

And here is a teacher’s response to the above comment:

teacher response edit

A more typical “high school” response would probably look something like this:

  • Math: F (does not do homework, tardies are a problem, distracts others)
  • Humanities: D (does not do homework, distracts others)
  • Science: F (does not do homework, low test scores, tardies are a problem)
  • World Language: D (does not do homework, distracts others)

I’m not trying to be snarky here, just realistic and honest. Notice also that the comments are similar. That’s because we traditionally use “canned” comments and are required to make comments to students with Ds and Fs.

Regardless, I hope the defensiveness is temporary and a relationship ensues.

Of course not all of the comments were critical.

parent positive


On another note, we received some excellent feedback from a parent (not from the narrative assessments), which resulted in this email:

email newsletter

We’re currently working on a newsletter-like communication that is written and edited by our students. It may just be a blog that can be subscribed to, but it’ll be a nice and frequent form of communication.


We had several visits this week. One was from a district public relations guy who interviewed Michael and I. It was supposed to be a phone interview, but he stepped it up to a video interview, which he followed up with some video of our Friday PLC and work with students. I’m nervous because one never knows how video will be edited. He seemed like a smart guy who was interested in our work with students. My fingers are crossed.

We were also visited by Kristy Lathrop and Telannia Norfar. Kristy is a former district colleague and friend of Mosaic. She now works for the Buck Institute for Education, BIE, and has been helpful in the development of Mosaic – having participated in several of our conferences and work days. Telannia is also from BIE, but she also teaches math full time at a high school in Oklahoma. I found their visit refreshing. Here are some of the pictures they took and tweeted.

lathrop 1

lathrop visit

lathrop 2

math board

lathrop 3

lathrop schedule

lathrop 4

lathrop seminar

lathrop 5

lathrop maker


I am really looking forward to the Maker Space coming back online. I’m glad their painting it, but really, deep down inside, I don’t care about it getting spruced up. It’s like a garage to me – all function, and not always pretty. 🙂

#cultureofdominanceproject #teachmetoDougie #Fridaywastough