Dear Emerald families -
Our new school opened in August of 2017 and was designed and built around the concept of Learning Community. A Learning Community is like a traditional classroom community on a bigger scale. A traditional classroom has a teacher and around 25 students making up a community. A Learning Community might have 7-10 teachers and 150 or more students all making up a larger community of learners. All of the teachers in a Learning Community might work with all of the students or some of the students. The Learning Community concept is built around fostering teacher and student collaboration and flexibly grouping students to best meet everyone’s learning needs. Another important aspect of the Learning Community philosophy is that instead of teachers working in isolation, all teachers in each community will work out of a shared teacher collaboration space. This promotes cross pollination of ideas, collaboration, collegiality, and deeper empathy and understanding of one another.
At Emerald, our Learning Communities will be organized in the following ways:
Pre-K/Kindergarten Learning Community: This group of teachers and paraprofessionals will teach our youngest Emerald dragons. The space includes 5 more traditional early childhood classrooms, a teacher collaboration and office space, a shared common space, and a shared early childhood playground. We worked with the District Early Childhood Office to ensure that this Learning Community meets all of the regulations and special needs of 3 - 6 year olds.
At Emerald, we have been working very hard to learn structures that will help us teach and learn together in this more collaborative environment. For example, the staff has collaboratively created the “Emerald Cornerstones” which are beliefs that will help to guide us in our new school. Here are the Emerald Mission, Vision, and Cornerstones.
First Grade/Second Grade Learning Community This Learning Community will include the first and second grade teachers. The grade level teams will share all of the learning spaces throughout the day to meet students needs by flexibly grouping learning groups. This community will also share a common space and common “Flex Studio” which an area specifically designed for “wet and messy” activities such as a art, science, etc.
3rd/4th/5th Grade Learning Community (also called ULC - Upstairs LC) In this Learning Community, with the largest student population, students and teachers will work together in flexible groupings throughout the day. We are excited to use the spaces to their full benefit and are excited to create a cohesive, upstairs learning community among students and staff.
Emerald Elementary School Mission, Vision, and Cornerstone Beliefs
The mission of Emerald Elementary School, in the Boulder Valley School District, is to create challenging, meaningful and engaging learning opportunities so that all children thrive and are prepared for successful, civically engaged lives.
In our Emerald community, children are equally supported to reach their greatest potential. We are an innovative, progressive and high-achieving neighborhood school that equitably educates all students in a safe, supportive environment. We foster successful, curious, lifelong learners who confidently embrace the challenges and opportunities of their time.
Emerald FIRE Cornerstones:
Emerald Dragons are always on F.I.R.E.
FIRE = Focus, Integrity, Respect, Empathy
When our school community is flexible, collaborative, and in a functional, comfortable environment, we believe learning will be authentic, relevant, engaging, and positive. Our cornerstones for learners, educators, and members of the community are:
Authentic, relevant, inquiry-based learning that promotes lifelong love of learning
Actively engaged learning experiences with opportunities for student-led, collaborative work
Developing perseverance and resiliency through in depth, purposeful learning
Encouraging reflective practices and risk-taking in learning cycle
Accessible learning tools (such as relevant and productive technology and materials) in all learning spaces
Pride in our school, our work, our community of learners
Self-motivated, independent, responsible, and curious learners
Embracing innovation and technology through research based practices
Commitment to the continuous cycle of renewal
Self-advocacy and positive communication
Responsive teaching practices that include modeling, flexible grouping, differentiation, rigor, and intentionality
Everyone is a leader and a learner
Creating a welcoming environment for all who touch our community
Pride and ownership of our school community and learning spaces
Valuing individuality and embracing our differences
Connections to nature, our community, one another,and the world
Collaboration, community, and flexibility
Celebrating all Emerald Dragons
Fostering and developing positive relationships
Please note the second bullet under Respect - “Everyone is a leader and learner”. The adults in the new building will be learning alongside the students and we will model being a lifelong learner, risk taker, and inquisitive person for the students.
In addition to the creation of the Cornerstones, the teachers have also participated in training on the use of strategies to be collaborative called “The 7 Norms of Collaboration”. This training taught us ways to be active listeners, effective communicators, and able to see things through another person’s perspective. We also participated in a really innovative tool called Emergenetics. This tool helped everyone to better understand themselves and others as a thinker, communicator, and human. Feel free to check out the Emergenetics tool at their website https://www.emergenetics.com/
We have been working hard to get ready for the new building and we are extremely excited for our students to get to experience Emerald 2.0. Emerald is an amazing school community and we are excited to experience the opening of our new building with all of our families.
As always, please know that my door is open to your comments, questions, concerns, and compliments.
Proudly your Principal