Student Experience

The Moving Everest student experience is driven by the three pillars of our school design:

Rigorous academics in a highly personalized/blended environment

 Personalization: A personalized approach to student learning informs all of our practices. Personalization at Moving Everest takes many forms, but it begins with a personalized learning plan (PLP) for every student. The PLPs include a combination of NWEA MAP data, STEP data, attendance data, and areas of strength and growth. We provide students with a student-centered and individualized learning plan that shows current information about their academic status (literacy and math) and their attendance. The PLP identifies areas of strength and areas of growth and provides resources/solutions in the form of multiple pathways that are unique to his or her individual academic and behavioral needs.  For the PLP, each student creates an avatar that is then connected to a unique QR code. Teachers upload information and data into the personalized learning plan that corresponds to student status and students are then able to travel with that QR code to our brain lab and access the specific online tool that corresponds with their area of growth. Students work closely with adults and with technology that offer them multiple learning paths through curricula that can be highly efficient, effective, and individualized. Our classrooms and brain labs utilize a wide variety of online tools that allow us to successfully meet the varying needs of all of our students.

Additionally, students spend significant time immersed in small group learning and teachers also create independent study time so they can work one-on-one with students who are struggling. Our small group instruction includes numerous flexible groupings where students are grouped in a variety of ways for both the direct instruction and small group instruction portions of their rotations.  Teachers utilize a combination of ability grouping, heterogeneous grouping and targeted grouping to hone in on a specific skill that a handful of students may be having difficulty with. Small group instruction is also effective in addressing the needs of students requiring remediation or accelerated learning.  Both strategies allow teachers to address the individual needs of learners in an effective and efficient manner and create an environment that is conducive to learning for students who need a differentiated approach.

To add additional resources to improving student learning, we utilize two learning specialists (one in literacy and one in math) to work on an individual and small group basis with both our struggling learners and with our accelerated learners. Ultimately, students will achieve content and skill mastery as well as the metacognitive skills and intrinsic desire to grow in their learning.

Rigorous Academics: The curriculum or course of study used by Moving Everest multi-faceted. Expeditionary Learning (EL) is used for english/language arts/literacy and Eureka is partnered with Zearn for math. We supplement in a variety of ways with things like Foss for science, but the core areas comprise the bulk of student time. Both EL and Eureka are highly rated by Ed Reports, the “consumer reports” for educational materials and in fact, EL was recently the highest-rated K–5 ELA series ever reviewed by Ed Reports.

At Moving Everest, learning is active, challenging, meaningful, and relevant. Students at all levels are pushed and supported to do more than they think they can. Excellence is expected in the quality of their work and thinking.

An additional area that helps distinguish Moving Everest and places our students in a unique level is the addition of a coding class to our curriculum. All students, beginning in kindergarten, will participate in our coding program as designed by our Director of Digital Learning.

Finally, personalization extends to our teachers as well. In addition to the 2.5 hours of professional development each week, each teacher receives 40 minutes of individual coaching from a member of the administrative team weekly. Our academic program is directly led by our co-directors of instruction whose sole responsibility is the academic growth and success of our students and the professional growth of our teachers.

Social/Emotional Health and Core Values

Social Emotional

Moving Everest has taken significant steps toward understanding and supporting the social and emotional health and well-being of our students and families. In addition to having a dedicated social/emotional (SEL) curriculum and dedicated SEL time, we are taking steps to become a trauma sensitive school. Many of our students have experienced significant trauma. This has a significant impact on learning, behavior, and relationships. To this end, our full-time social worker has become trained in the Trauma Sensitive School program. Incorporating this into our entire staff professional development helps us create a school that helps students feel safe and secure, helps them learn to overcome their trauma, and helps them learn.

Core Values/Character Development: Moving Everest students will participate in character building activities on a continuous basis.  The school’s core values are based, in part, on the work of Carol Dweck and Paul Tough and include: curiosity, perseverance (grit, hard work and persistence), respect, self-control, self-confidence, courage and a growth mindset.

As is shown repeatedly throughout the work of both Dweck, Tough and others, developing a school culture and explicitly training students in non-cognitive skills and habits of mind yield substantial results in the lives of children. Moving Everest will provide explicit instruction in these areas weekly in conjunction with our social/emotional learning program through WIN Time. WIN Time (What I Need) provides dedicated time for students to build strong, meaningful relationships with one primary adult and a small group of peers. WIN Time happens every day and this time allows us to set a strong foundation for reading with scholars by practicing core literacy skills needed by students in the group.  In addition, students will participate in character building and social emotional learning (SEL) activities on a continuous basis focused around the Moving Everest core values and our SEL curriculum.

Partnership

Partnerships are a cornerstone to our success at Moving Everest. Students will benefit from a strong and engaged community. First and foremost, we firmly believe that parent engagement is a critical component to student academic and personal growth and achievement. In addition, students will benefit greatly from our partnership with an after-school provider that effectively extends the learning that takes place during the school hours. The currently designated after-school provider is By The Hand Club For Kids (BTH).

The relationship with BTH is supplemental to the robust services offered by Moving Everest during the school day. BTH will provide after-school services to Moving Everest students, whose parents have chosen to enroll them, to further their social, emotional and academic development. Should parents choose this option for their children, Moving Everest students will experience a transitional period at the end of the school day that marks the end of the school day and the beginning of after-school programming. There will be opportunities for the school to collaborate with BTH in a variety of ways just as they do with the sixteen CPS schools that currently partner with BTH.

Parents whose children are enrolled in the Moving Everest school will be provided with information about the By The Hand after-school program that is consistent with the information that parents receive in the sixteen current CPS schools that partner with By The Hand.

The services offered by BTH include:

  • reading support including instruction in a blended learning environment
  • read-alouds
  • one on one tutoring with staff and volunteers
  • enrichment activities (art, music, drama)
  • chapel / religious instruction - for all families who have chosen this option
  • dinner and snack
  • etiquette and speech training
  • life skills training
  • college preparation assistance
  • mental health counseling
  • eye care
  • dental care
  • transportation home

School Culture

Moving Everest’s culture is founded on four core principles:

Physical and Emotional Safety and Security

“The part of the brain most affected by early stress is the prefrontal cortex, which is critical in self-regulatory activities of all kinds, both emotional and cognitive. As a result, children who grow up in stressful environments generally find it harder to concentrate, harder to sit still, harder to rebound from disappointments, and harder to follow directions.” [1] Paul Tough, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character

Through our years of experience coupled with the primary research conducted by Brandtrust, we have learned that students’ primary need is to feel safe and secure in their school environment. According to their research, Brandtrust found that before students can begin to understand that learning is the purpose of school they must first feel secure in their physical environment and then they must feel socially secure.

Character Development

As Carol Dweck states, “If parents want to give their children a gift, the best thing they can do is to teach their children to love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy effort, and keep on learning.” [2]

As is shown repeatedly throughout the work of Dweck, Tough and others, developing a school culture and explicitly training students in non-cognitive skills and habits of mind yield substantial results in the lives of children. Character development at Moving Everest will focus on our five values which build on the research of Paul Tough and Carol Dweck:

CURIOSITY: Always working to learn more in order to become the best

  • Students are motivated to explore and find innovative ways to solve problems and master content
  • Students are always looking for ways to become their best
  • Students have a cage busting mindset

PERSEVERANCE: The ability to bounce back and navigate through taxing times

  • Students push on when faced with challenges
  • Students never give up and push their classmates to never give up
  • Students are confident there is a solution to every challenge and do not give up until they find it

RESPECT AND SELF CONTROL: Treating others the way you want to be treated

  • Students treat their teammates how they would want to be treated
  • Students treat their teachers how they would want to be treated
  • Students treat their school as if it were their own home

SELF-CONFIDENCE: The belief that we each have the power to make change

  • Students believe in their own abilities and know that everyone at Moving Everest Charter School believes in their ability to succeed
  • Students are confident in their ability to master new ideas and concepts
  • Students know that their personalized track will lead them to success

COURAGE & THE GROWTH MINDSET: Doing the right thing, even when it is not easy

  • Students must hold themselves and one another accountable
  • Students stand up for what they know is right, even when they have the chance not to
  • Students ask for help when they do not know how to do something

Character development will be embedded in the curricula as well as the school-wide discipline policy and is consistent with our instructional strategies, which teach students to become increasingly independent and self-motivated learners. There will be a weekly character development class for students at all grade levels, which will complement the character development, etiquette, and life skills curriculum that students will experience should they choose to attend the program provided by our after-school partner. We will post the cultural values throughout the school and include them in the school chant, which will be recited every morning.

Measure and Celebrate Success

Through their primary research, Brandtrust found that students need tangible and meaningful rewards that recognize them for their hard work to increase their intrinsic motivation. Rewards and recognition that validate student effort in school lead them to a place where they begin to become intrinsically motivated. We will provide students with regular and ongoing feedback on their work both through the digital content and classroom instruction. In addition, we will regularly celebrate student success both in the classroom and during our weekly assemblies.

Reading Focus

It is our experience that promoting a culture of reading is a key driver of student success. As such, we include a reading focus as part of the school culture. In order to promote a reading culture, we will:

  • Provide all students with a book of their choosing on the first day of school
  • Host parent read-along nights
  • Design our physical environment to have multiple spaces for reading
  • Incorporate daily reading opportunities into the weekly school schedule; there is a dedicated 30-minute independent reading period as part of the schedule four days per week.

[1] Tough, Paul. How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012. Print.
[2] Dweck, Carol. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. New York: Random House, 2006. Print.