Parent Weekend at MLA

Student Portfolios

We love to share the students’ work with you when you come to visit.  As parent weekend approaches, our teachers gather work from the students to share with you as parents.  The students are encouraged to choose 2 assignments from each of their classes that they feel reflect their best work.  They are also asked to share why they were successful on each of these assignments.  In addition to the assignments, students have the opportunity to rate their performance in class. Teachers also rate each of their student’s success in class, and it’s fun to see how the ratings match up between students and teachers.  They are typically right on the same page.  These teachers know their students well!

Getting Specific

Helping these sweet kids is our greatest joy and we love being a part of their growth and progression.  As such, we meet every week as an education department to discuss each student’s progress, successes, needs, and more.  We talk about how they are doing in each class, where they are excelling, where they are working on improving, and how we can best support them.  We talk about specific assignments, specific struggles, and plans for improvement.  Students collaborate with their teacher mentor and their student mentor to make weekly goals and track progress.

Meeting with Teachers

Our teachers love meeting with parents to talk about these amazing kids, so this is the highlight of the week for us!  It’s a joy getting to talk to you as parents and share our love for your kids.  We are so proud of them and love seeing the amazing progress they are making every day. Each teacher has the opportunity to meet with their student’s parents twice each school year and it is a positive and valuable experience for us to get to talk with you as parents and share with you how great these kids are doing in school and how hard they work.   

New Technology Enhances the Classroom Experience

Hello everyone! We have some exciting updates to our education department we are excited to share with you.

Technology in the classroom is a wonderful tool we utilize here at Maple Lake Academy. Research suggests that students are more engaged, curious, and motivated to learn when technology is appropriately utilized in the classroom. Our school serves a diverse group of students with different needs, and having technology available makes it not only possible but easy to individualize education. 

We are very excited to introduce the newest addition to our technology: New smart boards! These new boards provide a way for us to make our lessons far more interactive than they have been in the past. We have been able to add a kinesthetic element to our teaching by having students come up to the board to write answers, do math problems, or draw pictures. Here are some pictures of our students enjoying this new technology:

A student using the math software to visualize and solve a math problem.

Students in history class filling out a timeline of events for the Peloponnesian War.

You can see the annotation tool provides different colors, marker size, erase, and undo options.

We can have up to 20 points of contact on the screen at a time, meaning groups of students can be interacting with the technology at the same time.

An annotated PowerPoint presentation about the battles of WWII. 

The boards have some really great features. There is an infinite whiteboard space on which teachers and students can write notes, draw pictures, or use math tools. Teachers are able to annotate presentations and draw attention to the information we’d most like the students to focus on. We have built in timers and spinning wheels that allow us to engage the students in friendly competitions and group projects. On top of all of that, the new boards have a great sound system and wonderful clear screens. 

We have already seen an improvement in student engagement. The students are excited to come to class and learn and the new tools are engaging them exceptionally well. Research has shown that advanced technology in the classroom leads to more engaged and capable students, and we see no reason why our situation would be any different. We expect to continue to see the level of engagement increase, and as we do we know we will see the results reflected in the academic work of our students. 

Written by Social Studies teacher Stacey Medley

What Does a School Day Look Like?

Welcome reader! Are you interested in learning about a typical school day at Maple Lake Academy? I’ve had many parents ask about the school environment at Maple Lake, so this month’s blog post is about that student experience in English class.

Sometimes the students get homemade muffins.

In the morning, after a student wakes up, they have several responsibilities to complete before going to school. A student eats a balanced breakfast, completes their hygiene routine, and performs their daily chores. The student is expected to do all of those things in a timely manner according to the daily schedule. Procrastinating could mean being late to school which would result in losing points for participation unless the student has an excuse from our staff. In the middle of the school day, students get a snack break. At the conclusion of school for the day is lunch; usually announced by the welcoming aroma emanating from the kitchen.

A typical, “I can” statement.

When the student enters the English classroom the first thing they see is the, “I can” statement written on the board. This, “I can” statement refers to two things: the relevant state educational standard and the learning objective for that class. Also on the board is the daily schedule of what is happening in class. The schedule of the day’s class and the details of any assignments can also be found on the website Edmodo.com in the event that a student forgets to put their assignments in their planner or is absent.

The assignments are varied in order to assist students who may have different learning strengths. For example, spatial learners may receive graphic organizers and aural learners have access to the audio for books we are reading in class. For kinesthetic learners, we recently played a game in class where students had to organize pieces of paper that represented the parts of a paragraph in the correct order.

A student offering assistance.

Every student has accommodations that are approved by the MLA Education Department in order to meet their individual needs and to make sure they are learning in a timely manner. A single class is an hour long and the last part of the class is reserved for working on assignments. This allows each student the opportunity to finish that day’s assignment in class without the need for the assignment to become homework. Just in case a student does not finish their classwork, there is also a dedicated study hall class for students to complete their assignments.

I hope this article gave many of you greater insight into how classes function at Maple Lake Academy! Depending on reader interest, we may post another article highlighting a different class! See you all soon!

This article was written by Seth Campbell the English teacher at Maple Lake Academy.

November Fossil Fun

For science enrichment the kids were given a bunch of fossils to break out of rocks back this past November just before Thanksgiving. Each of the kids were able to break open large pieces of shale rock purchased from the You Dig Fossil Quarries down in Delta Utah. The rock was shipped to Maple Lake and it was split out so that both schools could participate in the activity. 

The fossils that the kids were looking at were trilobites from the Cambrian Period of geologic time (540 million years ago). During this time Utah was covered by an inland tropical sea which allowed for a multitude of shallow marine organisms to live and thrive in the warm waters because the North American Continent was right on the equator.

A map of what the world looked like during the Cambrian. North America during that time was a continent called Laurentia and was right on the equator.

The kids were able to break open the shale rock to get to the fossils using hammers. The kids got to learn how geologists and paleontologists break open rocks to find fossils and what different types of fossils can tell us about the geologic past. When the activity was over the kids got to keep their fossils in their supervisor bin so that the fossils can be brought home over the holiday break.

Fossils laid out on the work bench in the woodshop.
One of the students holding up their fossil at the Boy’s school.
One of the girls proudly showing their fossil to the science teacher.

Tentacle Beast!

The 50th Annual Springville High School Art Show returns and one of our own will be featured in this year’s event. Each year the Springville, Utah local art museum requests submissions of local high school-age (grades 11-12) artists to submit their creative work. This year only 30% of the submissions were accepted into the show that will be on display from February 5, 2022, through March 25, 2022. This Maple Lake Student, working with pen and ink, became eligible under the following conditions; an original work developed from personal experience, imagination, or direct observation. The artist states that his inspiration came from Lovecraftian Horror, a genre that began in the late 1800’s to early 1900’s that emphasized the unknowable and incomprehensible.

This juried exhibition will have 12 experienced judges that are familiar with high school art in various mediums to judge and select award winners. Many of our students at Maple Lake Academy do creative and inspiring work. We congratulate this young student on his piece and earning a spot in the upcoming art show. Way to go!

“Tis the Season

This time of year has a hustle and bustle to it that does not compare to any other time of year. Here at Maple Lake Academy, we embrace the warmth of the season with fun activities, decorations and earned passes for students and families. Passes originate with the clinical department and provide an opportunity for students to practice their skills and continue to do the good work they are engaged in. Going on pass during school days is also an opportunity for growth.

If your child is off campus for more than a couple of days of school, the education department will send an email with information to assist you and the student with schoolwork. This includes our computer policy and log on information for your child. All Maple Lake rules and policies continue to be applied to the off campus school days. Each student will need a computer and internet access to complete the work assigned by teachers. Most, if not all, assignments will be accessible online for off-campus passes.

You may always refer to the school calendar which is found at the top of this blog for the dates that school is not in session. Maple Lake Academy is an ESY school (Extended School Year). We offer five terms, (9) weeks each, that allow students to continue their school program and minimize the loss of skills. It is not summer school but a strong and rigorous academic program that supports executive functioning, deepens concept knowledge and promotes scholary attitudes. The education department wishes all of you a warm and safe season!

Everyone Is A Genius

Curiosity - OT Toolkit™ Blog

Curiosity: “A strong desire to know or learn something”; “Interest leading to inquiry”; “inquisitiveness”. These are just three of many dictionary definitions for the word curiosity. When it comes to education, curiosity is an essential quality for both students and educators. Without the desire to learn and expand knowledge, school would be nothing more than a “boring waste” of several good hours of the day. Curiosity is motivation for the hard work that education requires. 

According to Emily Kaplan (2019), “curiosity is the necessary impetus for learning; [curiosity] questions, whether direct or indirect, are the only way to deepen comprehension; and that understanding comes only in degrees”. Students not only learn but enjoy learning when they are curious. Here at Maple Lake Academy, we embrace and celebrate the many differences of our students and the many different forms their curiosity takes. 

Albert Einstein is often credited with a quote saying that “everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid”. Our goal at Maple Lake Academy is to ensure that each and every student feels like the genius he or she is. Some students excel in math and enjoy solving puzzles. Some students prefer reading or writing stories, and others shine when they are hands on. We work to cultivate each learning style so each student may feel successful.

In my classroom I like to have a very structured plan for a lesson and leave room to encourage curiosity and initiative from the students. I use a mixture of teaching approaches in the hope that I may cater to varying learning styles. For example, we read and take notes, watch videos, play games, and even venture outside for activities to better engage with history. When we talked about the California Gold Rush in our last unit of US History, students listened to me explain the history and watched a video. Then we went outside and the students “panned for gold” by digging up little “golden nuggets” I had previously buried in the dirt. The activity illustrated the frustrations and elations the miners may have experienced back in 1849. By using many different mediums for the same topic I was able to help each student not only understand the topic but remember it as well-not a single student got that question wrong on the test!

While my example is small and simple, it is a reflection of what we strive to do here in the academic department. We as teachers are well trained in adapting to different learning styles and work to be flexible with our students. Everybody is a genius-it is our job to empower and encourage our students to find their genius so that each and every boy or girl can take pride in their efforts to learn and have a positive education experience.

Written by Social Studies teacher Stacey Medley

Introducing Our New Social Studies Teacher – Stacey Medley

Stacey Medley

Welcome to our newest addition to the Education department, Stacey Medley. Stacey graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Sociology and a minor in German language. Stacey is currently pursuing her Master of Education with Colorado State University. Stacey has worked at Maple Lake Academy since 2017, having started as a residential staff and moving up to become the residential director over the girl’s school. Stacey left for a short while to focus on her master’s degree and pursue other work experience at Center For Change. Stacey was overjoyed to return to Maple Lake Academy as the social studies teacher and is thrilled to be starting her teaching career in such a wonderful and supportive environment.

Stacey enjoys working with students who have unique and induvial needs. Stacey’s approach to teaching is to help students love learning and feel successful, no matter their past success in school. Stacey aims to boost the confidence of her students and help them realize that no matter the subject matter, educational growth is both important and possible for every single individual to achieve.