Students in the Notre Dame ACE Academies (NDAA) in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, have been focusing on the core value, "Persist," throughout the month of March.
Whether our students realize smaller victories in persistence such as studying extra hard for that really tough math test or sticking out the season on a sports team, I can't help but see a correlation to the bigger picture. When they learn persistence in small matters, students can apply this value to their bigger goals: college and heaven.
Persistence is so much more than merely not giving up. In teaching perseverance, we arm our students with the ability to accomplish a goal in the face of a challenge, setting them up for a future being able to manage stressful situations and problem-solve. They learn to draw on their own personal resources - whether academic, physical, emotional, the ability to apply greater effort or employ their unique skills and talents. They develop greater self-esteem from their accomplishments and learn how to pick themselves up when they fail. And my favorite: in our schools, they learn to rely on God through prayer to help them through any situation they may face.
Persistence is a theme sprinkled throughout the scriptures. Jesus and His disciples exhort us to "seek glory, honor, and immortality through perseverance in good works (Romans 2: 7). We are told to "run as to win the race" (1 Corinthians 9: 24). We are encouraged to "rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer" (Romans 12: 12). Whether in school, at work or in our faith life, it is through persistence that we will realize the life God has in store for us
- here and eternally. Our teachers are planting the seeds of persistence in our children today so they will be able to thrive tomorrow.
Director of Mission Advancement for Catholic Education Initiatives
Archdiocese of Indianapolis Email Kim
While most educators might describe working with ISTEP as an exercise in frustration, Mr. JoDavid Blastic, third grade teacher at Holy Cross Central School, sees it as an opportunity.
"My classroom is unique," he says. "I have a way to teach students to read-to-learn in a way that, I believe, is special. We integrate group work in a way that is engaging and purposeful. He goes on to explain that this method has led his students to high growth in MAP (Measure of Academic Progress) testing. "This idea is the result of constant self-reflection on my part; I strive to be the best teacher I can be," he adds.
To specifically prepare for ISTEP, Mr. Blastic spends time looking at MAP data to decide what areas he needs to cover that the class may not learn before the test. During a time in the day he calls "sprinkles," he introduces concepts they would not otherwise cover before ISTEP. He also addresses areas in which the class may be more deficient. This time is separate from the regular math they are studying.
Mr. Blastic feels his students worked very hard and were as prepared as they could be during the recent round of ISTEP testing in early March. "They know they can do it! While they are not all on the same level, they are aware that they can show all they know," he said. "This confidence really translated to the ISTEP test. The students answered
Mr. Blastic teaching a synonyms lesson in a game-show format to Holy Cross third grade students.
the questions to the best of their individual abilities; they were very persistent. They gave 100% because they knew that what they could do had value." He feels the preparation they are receiving will translate to their future standardized testing which the students will have the opportunity to demonstrate when ISTEP testing resumes in April.
"ISTEP is an exhausting endeavor," Mr. Blastic adds. "Students and teachers alike work very hard to have the best results possible. As a teacher, my goal is to improve my methods to create the best environment for learning that I can."
Click here to view the NDAA March 2017 Regional Update and read about the exciting news happening in our Notre Dame ACE Academies.