HORiZON ON THE
Sept.-Dec. 10 02 | 01 Please consider the environment before printing this newsletter.
To provide a challenging international education, from kindergarten to high school, in a progressive learning environment which focuses on the development of the whole child in preparation for national and global citizenship.
LOOKING BACK... AND FORWARD Dear Horizon Family,
It’s hard to believe that this edition of On the Horizon documents the second and third trimesters of our first year, that those months passed by so quickly and we are now poised to begin Year Two of our existence. Within the pages of this newsletter you will find descriptions and documentation of some of last year’s events, viewpoints of parents and teachers, more indepth features on some of our teachers, and pictures, lots of pictures, to walk you down the happy street some call Memory Lane. Looking back at these events does more than remind us of the challenges and the joys of last year. It actually reinforces our commitment to continue to work toward the mission of Horizon Academy: to provide a challenging international education in a progressive learning environment which focuses on the whole child in preparation for national and global citizenship. We have worked tirelessly for the past year to do our best
to provide first class education for our working class – and we have not lost sight of our commitment to our founding principles.We are more focused than ever on the goal of being Child-Centered, Holistic, Inclusive, Progressive, and Parent-Driven. The year that lies ahead is already straining at the seams with promise. How can we not look forward to new lessons when we think of how much we all learned last year, and in how many different ways? How can we not be excited at the thought of what this year’s special events will look like when we remember all the fun activities, like Sports Day? Yes, my friends, last year remains a tough act to follow, but the school year 2010 – 2011 will be yet another resounding success in the history of Horizon Academy. We all stand ready to work together to make it so. Enjoy looking back at last year now... Smile at the memories that flash through your mind... And then, let the New Year begin!
HORIZON LENDS A HAND|TO HAITI Friday, March 5, 2010 was a special day at Horizon, a day on which focus was aimed solely on the earthquakestricken nation of Haiti. As you well know, our mission statement claims that we are moulding global citizens. In order to be true to our mission and to let the children become familiar with the country they were reaching out to help, the staff organized this special day. The first part of the morning saw each class learning something about Haiti – from its culture to its food to its history to its flag. The lessons and activities were separate and individual, and they ran the gamut from art in Pre-Kinder to exploring the globe in Infant 1 and slideshows in Infant 2 to history lessons in Std. 4/5. Every Horizon student gained a glimmer of knowledge about Haiti. Mrs. Kim Osborne, who has visited Haiti twice, then spoke to the school all together. She brought in samples of Haitian art and sculptures, and, in her meaningful presentation, brought more aspects of Haitian culture and history to life. She even taught the students some French Creole words! A slideshow then followed. Mrs Osborne’s collection of pictures gave the students a unique look at this beautiful country before the earthquake. Then Ms Vicky’s collection of images detailed the stark reality
of the terrible devastation that overtook this country which has already suffered so much. A representative from the Red Cross joined us that morning as well, and he spoke to the students about the efforts that organization has made to help Haiti and the ways in which their monetary contributions would be used. Lunch with a Haitian flair followed, and several parents joined us for the delicious meal which the cafeteria staff prepared. After lunch, it was business as usual, and classes returned to normal. The donation box was set out along with an oversized card for students to sign in during the day, and at the end of the day, when everything was tallied, the amount collected was $486.36. This amount was rounded up to $500.00 and presented to the Red Cross. Many, many thanks go to all of you who made the day and its mission successful.We did more than collect money for Haiti; we also made our students knowledgeable of and empathetic toward a neighbouring nation about which we know very little.
GROWING|IN FAITH On February 28, at the 8:30 mass at Holy Redeemer Cathedral, eight of Horizon Academy’s students made their First Holy Communion at a beautiful service attended by their families, friends, and other parishioners. The students had been prepared to receive the sacrament by Mrs. Carmela Willoughhby, and Ms Stephanie Coye was the musical director. We congratulate these students: Kristi Batty, Ricardo Castillo, Alexandra Gibson, Dylan Gough Jones, Margaret Rose Maheia, Kehli Marin, Myah Nunez, and Albertini Vega. We wish them God’s blessings as they continue their journey in the Catholic faith. On May 2, six of our older students were confirmed by Bishop Dorick Wright. In a beautiful afternoon ceremony, family, friends, and godparents of Alyssa Craig, Myah Nunez, Gavin
Castillo, Gilbert Franklin, Dylan Gough Jones and Jahson Phillips gathered to share in their celebration of Confirmation. These students were also prepared for this sacrament by Mrs. Willoughby. We take this opportunity to express our gratitude to Mrs Willoughby, a truly good woman who has willingly given of her time to work with these students as they grow in their faith.
SPORTS DAY | HORIZON STYLE! Creativity, spontaneity, and enthusiasm reigned supreme on Sunday, March 21, as Horizon students, parents, and faculty gathered for Horizon Academy’s first Sports Day. The events were the brain children of the faculty, who were determined to do something different which would involve all our students, challenge their fine and gross motor skills, and infuse educational information into the process. Despite the few glitches that normally accompany a first try at anything, by all accounts, the day went really well. Ms Lupita Quan, our guest speaker, encouraged our students to do their best and to have fun and complimented the parents on their support.And then the games began in earnest, moving our students (in theory, at least) from district to district, stacking sugar cane and taking it to the factory, running the Crooked Tree-legged race, participating in the Sand Lighter relay, and doing so much more. The four teams, Orange, Green, Yellow, and Burgundy, took over the field and its environs in a blaze of colour and energy, which was highlighted by the enthusiasm of parents and teachers alike. The events of the day had been planned to be more than physical challenges. They were also opportunities for the teams to truly work together and build
cooperative spirit, as they required participation from students of all levels, and they forced some thinking to happen, as every district round ended with a challenge question which could earn the teams more points. At the end of the day, the Burgundy team was the overall champion, with the Yellow, Orange, and Green teams coming in 2nd, 3rd, and 4th respectively. District Champions were Corozal – Green, Orange Walk – Orange, Belize – Yellow, Cayo – Green and Orange (tied), Stann Creek – Burgundy and Yellow (tied) – Toledo –Burgundy, and the Cayes – Yellow. We believe, though, that the Horizon Family was really the overall winner on this day. We saw, again, that the fruits of a little imagination and a lot of hard work, from our teachers and from the parents who volunteered to do everything from mark the field to act as game officials to sell food and drinks, are fruits that are enjoyed by all! Our thanks to everyone who helped to make the day the success that it was!
Teacher Feature Ms Maiz ie A r
Thank you, Teacher Maizie, for everything that you do for our students.
arbutt G h da
Ms R a
Teacher Rasheedah is in charge of our “babies” – the Pre-Kinder class – and she has embraced her work at Horizon Academy with energy and enthusiasm. She is new to the profession and decided to become a teacher because she loves children, she considers education a priority, and she firmly believes that she can make a difference in her students’ lives.
All of us at Horizon love your energy and your bubbly spirit, Teacher Rasheedah. We’re glad you’ve joined the Horizon family! Mrs Lesley C ast il
Ms Lesley has been a teacher for fourteen years, and she has loved every minute of all those years. Ms. Lesley comes from a family of teachers and this led to her decision to become a teacher herself. She has found that she really enjoys working with children and loves watching the “ah-ha when a child’s light comes on.
The small class size at Horizon is what she likes best, and she truly believes that her students can be great thinkers who will be able to make the world a better place.
In her spare time, she enjoys socializing and surfing the net and thinking of ways to help her little ones learn better. Jamaica or some other Caribbean country would be where she’d love to visit if she ever got the chance.
In her spare time,Teacher Maizie loves to read, dance, cook, and spend time with her daughter. She would love to visit Ecuador or Peru someday.
The family atmosphere that prevails at Horizon is one aspect of life at this school that she appreciates. She feels loved here, a part of everything, and she is especially impressed by the holistic approach to education that Horizon Academy offers each student.
Teacher Maizie, Horizon Academy’s Infant 1 teacher, has taught for seven years. Her decision to become a teacher stemmed from her love of seeing children learn new things and from the fact that developing a child’s intellect gives her joy. Her greatest satisfaction comes from knowing that her students have learned what she has taught.
She derives joy from her students’ achievements and from the enjoyment that they exhibit as they learn. Teacher Rasheedah believes that her students can grow up to be anything they choose – even Prime Minister!
Ms. Lesley believes in the full potential of her students, that they can be anything they want to be. She loves working at Horizon because students are treated as individuals and teaching is adapted to suit student needs. Reading is her favourite past- time and she also enjoys going to her grandpa’s caye and hanging out with friends. If she ever got the chance to travel, touring Europe would be her first choice. Thank you too, Ms. Lesley, for the love you share with Horizon students and the time and effort you’ve spent in the formation of Horizon Academy.
TRADITIONAL|PROGRESSIVE by Teacher Stella
When asked to write this article, I was not given a specific topic. I was merely asked to write something about Horizon Academy. After some moments of reflecting I realized that if anything needed writing about, it was the fact that Horizon Academy has taken on the challenging, questionable, misunderstood approach of educating its students, the progressive approach. So I decided my article should be an insight into a progressive approach to education. Of course for me to fully explain the progressive approach we take here, I had to first look at the traditional approach we are all so familiar with. After looking at both approaches, I decided my article would be: A Traditional versus A Progressive Approach to Education There has been much controversy between these two approaches to education. Most of us reading this article are all too familiar with the traditional way of educating learners. Learners were told to sit up straight, listen, and repeat after teacher. Each child was treated the same way and teachers automatically assumed that everyone was equally ready to learn the prescribed content. Individual differences were ignored and learners were grouped according to their abilities. Remember belonging to the class of Standard 1A or 1B, C, D? Learners were led to compete against each other.They had no choice as to what they wanted to learn and even less of a choice of demonstrating how well they had mastered what they were taught. Learners were all given the same tests and exams and expected to understand and learn in the same way. Education was teacher-centered and teacher-student relationships were irrelevant. I remember clearly my teachers not caring that music was my first love; that I loved singing and dreamed of one day being a famous singer. I remember learning the same topics in Social Studies, Civics and Geography, year in, year out with absolutely no continuity. I remember sitting in those classrooms and listening to things that had absolutely nothing to do with my life outside of that classroom. When asked to repeat after teacher, parroting, things that I would have forgotten by the next day.
There was not much interaction with teachers.Teachers were all extremely efficient but I now ask myself, how effective were they? I can now suppose, judging from the number of drop- outs, not very. Most teachers were scary people and being sent to the principal’s office was like a death sentence. I remember friends being reprimanded for misbehavior to the point of them peeing in their pants in front of the entire class, while others were forced to walk around with gum stuck to their forehead for breaking the rule of ‘no gum chewing’ in class. Talk about extremists! Teachers ran a tight ship and order was always maintained, in classrooms with as many as 40 plus learners. I remember some students being branded as ‘lazy’ and being forced to wear a ‘dunce’ hat. By the way, it was extremely rare for any student in the D group to move up to the C, or B group. Once you were placed in your group, it was very likely that for the remainder of your school years you would be with that same group of learners. This was proof that there was no change in your abilities as a learner. Ah, the good” ole “school days! Still, I missed them. After all, it was all I knew, until years after when as a teacher I was introduced to the different ways learners learn. How sad I was for that little girl who dreamed of one day being a famous singer, but at the same time happy for the teacher she had become. For now this teacher had a gift, a gift of ensuring that all her learners would live out their dreams and become whatever it is they dream of becoming. This little girl, the musical learner, taught by traditional teachers, had grown into a progressive teacher equipped to teach multiple intelligence learners in a progressive school. Horizon Academy promotes the idea that our learners should be encouraged to be independent thinkers, creative beings, and expressive about their ideas. Our students are treated as individuals with special interests and needs. Each child is treated as an artist in his or her own way. Our teachers have taken on the job of finding and encouraging the interests and passions of our students.We recognize the child who is enchanted by the moon and know that this child needs to learn the appropriate mathematics and science to lead him to becoming an astronaut. We recognize the aspiring journalists with passionate interests and curiosity and teach them the craft of informing the world. Our music program allows all our children with
Bach and Chopin in their gut to work endless hours to bring the phrase to life. Our library feeds the lust for reading that our story lovers crave. The Organic Gardening Program fulfills the deep affection for the outdoors that our future agriculturists, biologists, geologists, and ecologists need fulfilling. I could go on and on. In short, we practice the progressive approach to education. Some consider this a very provocative and controversial approach to education. Horizon Academy bravely challenges the traditional practices in education. We embrace a child-centered curriculum and work hard at developing in each and every student critical thinking skills as well as cooperative social skills. We put more emphasis on the importance of individualism, creativity and critical thinking and less emphasis on a curriculum that focuses on memorization and rote skills. Our curriculum is one of continuity and interaction. Each learning experience is nurtured by a previous experience. Our learners are encouraged to interact by experimenting, verifying, and reconstructing. This makes the learning process gradual, but effective. Does this mean that we throw out everything traditional? Those of us who believe that education needs a foundation of basic skills and more discipline will agree that we must hold on to some of the traditional ways of doing things. For example, remember reciting your multiplication tables over and over until you had memorized them? Or learning poetry through memorization? Rote memorization does work, so why get rid of it. So then, let’s use a little bit of this and a little bit of that. It does have an irresistible appeal to it, doesn’t it? Fifteen years ago my teaching philosophy was a changing, growing one. Today it still is. Teaching for me is a learning process. I consider myself a life-long learner and for this reason my philosophy changes and grows with each new method that I learn and each new student that I meet. I find that taking a little bit of the traditional ways and combining them with the progressive ways works well for me and for my learners. As much as I want my learners to be critical thinkers, as much as I recognize and acknowledge their individualism, as much as I respect their creativity, by no means will I allow the progressive approach to their education to devalue my instructional approaches that succeed in teaching them knowledge and skills that they did not have before.
We all know that in order to execute instructions effectively, there must be order and discipline, both of which I will always place at the top of my list. As progressive educators, let’s be careful not to place too much emphasis on the experience of learning itself, believing that learning in groups, creative projects and open discussions on concepts are intrinsically good. At the end of it all, it’s the outcome that matters. As teachers we will all agree that there is nothing more traditional than end of term assessments and paper and pencil evaluations. These traditional methods are still being used and I suspect will be used for many years to come. So, if I come off as being indecisive as to which approach to take, it’s because I don’t want to. I prefer the medley of both. If that doesn’t make me progressive, then I don’t know what will. It is my job and responsibility as an Early Childhood Educator to instill discipline and the ability to follow rules in my learners. If this doesn’t make me traditional, well, I don’t know what does. It is also my job and responsibility to recognize the differences in my learners and reach each and everyone at his or her individual levels using whatever methods I must to ensure that each and everyone is taken to his or her highest level. Call my philosophy an eclectic one; I find that works for me. I guess this is why I enjoy being here so much. As progressive as we are, we have not thrown out some of what we know has worked in education for many, many years. Because of this our learners will be well-rounded citizens of the world, open to different experiences, cultures and people. When you step into our hallways don’t confuse ‘happiness’ with chaos, ‘love and care of student’ to lack of respect and authority, and ‘interaction’ to noisy classrooms. Remember now, efficient doesn’t necessarily mean effective. I guess here at Horizon Academy we are not extremists. We take a little bit of this and a little bit of that.We blend it, apply it and look forward to an amazing outcome. Placing new steps of change, Horizon Academy faces a bright future by making exchanges and embracing old and new methods in order to reach all learners. Note: The views and opinions in this article are solely and totally the views and opinions of a radically traditionalist/ progressive teacher, passionate about learning, teaching, and all of her students.
The Multiple|Intelligences How do you learn best? Do you need to see the material you need to learn, or can you just listen and retain? Does listening to music or putting material to be learned into a rhyme or a jingle make grasping a subject easier? HA students and teachers and even some parents had the experience of finding out about the multiple intelligences and identifying exactly what sorts of learners they are during the course of the past school year. Exercises like this are new and exciting and are great teaching aids, for teachers can then apply differentiation methods that best suit each of their
PARENT|SPEAK by Ellen Ramirez Horizon Academy truly is a Positive approach to Education. I always believe that positive thinking is a very powerful and potent force in manifesting reality and accomplishing tasks successfully and I can see the reality of this manifestation at Horizon Academy on a daily basis. The level of care and attention given to
studentâ€™s individual needs. This is more proof of how differently we do things here at Horizon. We truly are student-centered. This process is yet another way of ensuring that we keep our promise to do the very best for our students. Armed with the information gleaned from the exercises on the multiple intelligences, Horizon teachers began the practice of preparing assessments that could definitely not be called traditional. Assessments for the upper division students for both second and third semesters included written, oral, and practical exercises in Reading, Math, Spanish, and Science â€“ more proof of differentiation at work. students and the intensity of communication between the faculty, students and parents is definitely an unbelievable experience that has to be praised. The approaches to education that Horizon has taken will definitely instill the right attitude in students as they grow in life and will allow them to take the right approaches to view the world in general. A job to be praised and congratulated for! Go Horizon!
Field Trips On Wednesday, March 24, 2010, Horizon students set off on their first ever field trip experience. Students from Pre Kinder through to Standard 1, accompanied by teachers and parent chaperones, headed for the Belize Zoo, while Standards 3 to 5, also accompanied by teachers and parents, stopped off first at the Belize Weather Bureau and then moved on to Altun Ha. As is the Horizon way, the older students went armed with worksheets and guides so that their experience would also be tutorial. The younger ones were treated to a slide show complete with lots of facts about the many animals that make the Belize Zoo their home so that they also would have some degree of familiarity with where they would be going. Both trips were successful and fun-filled, and the students returned that day asking when the next field trip would be scheduled.
A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words! As only we can, Horizon Academy swept through the last few months of the school year in a flurry of activities that involved a large cross section of the school community and its friends and supporters. This collage pays tribute to these activities and confirms the Chinese proverb that a picture is worth a thousand words. Many, many thanks to everyone who helped in any way, both great and small, to make all of the celebrations of who we are and what we do successful.
e See Mor ore Share M FAN OME A
The A Team!
DEM A C A OK IZON
HOR ON FACEBO
END OF TRIMESTER CELEBRATIONS Horizon Academy’s second trimester ended with a school wide Easter egg hunt and party. Each class took turns hunting for individual bags that were filled with Easter goodies donated by Heather Jones, Soledad Heredia and Brenda Sheppard. Thank you so much for your generosity, ladies. You made the day for all our students! The cafeteria staff prepared pizza and chips and dips for everyone and Ms. Vicky’s mom made beautifully decorated cupcakes which the students thoroughly enjoyed. At dismissal time they left happily, looking forward to the two-week Easter break. The third trimester also ended with a special celebration. Fr. Juan Gongora graced us with his presence and celebrated a thanksgiving mass with the students, staff, and some parents. The assembly was then treated to various musical selections by some classes and Ms Di handed out awards that students had earned through the year. A karate exhibition by the students at Sensei Leon’s Red Dragon dojo ended the assembly. After being treated to a special Belizean lunch of rice and beans, chicken and salad, our students left to begin their summer vacation. We watched them leave with mixed emotions, but the overriding feeling was gratitude that we had been given this beautiful group of children – 74 strong, to love and work with and groom and teach and have fun with, and, yes, to love, for the first 10 months of Horizon’s history.
SITE SEEKING http://kids.discovery.com/ An educational website with fun games and videos.
Thursday, November 25: Thanksgiving Lunch (at Horizon Academy) Saturday, December 4: Children’s Movie Afternoon Saturday, December 11: Christmas by Candlelight
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