Letter from the Principal

Happy June Madison Families!

Our path towards Deeper Learning has led us to seek out more opportunities for our faculty to collaborate with our students and learn more about their experiences as students in our learning community.

During the month of March, five Madison students (three 10th and two 12th grade) joined several faculty members as a part of our team attending the Assessment for Learning Annual Conference. This student-teacher team was a part of an “Idea Collider” design session. This virtual learning and design experience focused on developing prototypes of student-centered, interdisciplinary assessments including Student-Led Conferences, Portfolio Defenses, and Portraits of a Graduate that engage families in the assessment experience, as well as help us move forward on our journey towards Deeper Learning for all. Students self-selected an assessment type to learn more about, engaged our community of parents, teachers, and other students in empathy interviews to learn more about their assessment experiences, and shared their ideas to an audience of educators from all over the country.

Inspired by the conference, one of our teachers led a pilot program for Student Portfolios in her 12th grade English classroom. She invited students to create their own digital portfolios based on the FCPS Portrait of a Graduate Skills: Collaborator, Communicator, Creative & Critical Thinker, Ethical & Global Citizen, and Goal-Directed & Resilient. Here is what some of her students had to say about the experience:

“The portfolio was good in helping me build my self-confidence.” 

“This was a useful experience for me to reflect and see how much I have or haven’t grown as a student this school year.” 

“I really liked the project. It was nice to design something in my own way. I’m a digital artist and this was a fun way for me to share my work.”

“I think what has really been nice about this project is the creativity that has been given to us. I’ve been able to introduce myself in the way that I want to that really shows me and what I’m proud of this year” 

Another one of our students has joined our faculty members on the JMHS Project Springboard collaborative team. This group has met several times throughout the month of May in an effort to (re)imagine what school might be like in a post-COVID world. Inspired by the Portfolio Pilot Program happening in some of our 12th grade classes, the Springboard team is looking closer at how student portfolios might help foster Deeper Learning in our own Madison community.

Thanks to support from you, the PTSA, three students will attend WISSIT (Washington International School Summer Institute for Teachers) alongside our Madison team. We have sent a group of teachers to attend WISST every summer for the past four years, and this is the first year that both students and a parent will be joining us. We look forward to sharing all of the learning that emerges from our fabulous student-teacher collaborative teams with you in the future.

We end this school year feeling both grateful to be surrounded by such a supportive community and hopeful for what is to come. We wish you a wonderful summer of gathering with friends and family, and we look forward to welcoming all of our Warhawks back to James Madison Drive in August.

Sincerely,
Gregory S. Hood, Principal
James Madison High School
2500 James Madison Drive
Vienna, Virginia  22181
Phone:  703-319-2311
Email: gshood@fcps.edu
Website: http://www.fcps.edu/MadisonHS/