parents as partners

Sep
21

What is the relationship between playful inquiry and open systems?

At last week’s back-to-school night, I was asked to speak briefly about Playful Inquiry and open systems. I’m sharing what I said — for families who weren’t able to attend, for educators who read the blog to consider, and for those who were able to attend to revisit. I look forward to reading your responses!  At Opal […]

By Tara Papandrew | Beginning
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Sep
12

Intentions: The we that I am

“A child’s most sought after goal is to recognize himself in others, and to find in others parts of himself.” -Loris Malaguzzi, founder of the pre-primary schools of Reggio Emilia Dear Primary Community families, At Opal School, we see all children as competent, creative, curious, and courageous. We believe they come to school full of experience […]

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Sep
12

Intentions: Transformation

Dear Families, In this complicated and uncertain world, we believe school is where we learn to be human. And right now, more than ever, we need people who can listen with empathy and understanding, imagine multiple possibilities, communicate their ideas in a variety of ways, and see challenges as opportunities for learning and growth. One […]

By Tara Papandrew | Beginning
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Nov
10

Reflecting on Election Day

The results of the election were more surprising in some settings than others.  In Multnomah County, where Opal School resides, Hillary Clinton earned four votes for every one   received by Donald Trump – so we live in something of a blue bubble, shading our vision.  Like others around the country, we find ourselves called upon to […]

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Oct
21

Riding the Chocolate Train

Within a social-constructivist context, shared experiences offer children a chance to build their understandings of themselves, each other, and the world. Earlier this week, the Cedar community visited the Farmer’s Market in downtown Portland. This rich environment — filled with a variety of colors, textures, flavors and scents — provided us with a memorable, multi-sensory experience. In the days […]

By Tara Papandrew | Beginning
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Mar
10

Partnering with Families – Sharing resources for shared meaning-making

What is possible when we invite parents and teachers together to create shared meaning of our goals and expectations for children?  What connections, stories and perspectives will emerge through this shared process? What might happen if we offer parents the assessment tools and resources used by the teachers when paying attention to children?   How […]

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Apr
02

Legislative support for Opal School

Opal School was one of the first charter schools established in Oregon.  The Oregon Charter Schools Act identified nine goals for charter schools: (1) Increase student learning and achievement; (2) Increase choices of learning opportunities for students; (3) Better meet individual student academic needs and interests; (4) Build stronger working relationships among educators, parents and other […]

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Oct
08
Aug
04

Change

It’s August and at Opal School that means there are 3 of us here ready to begin the ball toss that will evolve into our 13th year of school. Every year, this ball we toss first is a little different than the one we tossed the August before. At Opal School we listen, we pay […]

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May
31

Synthesis Thinking, Materials Work, and the penultimate week of school!

This was a four day week, but so much is happening in Opal 4, I had to share. Practicing our songs for graduation with Carrington (above) Making sense of the text of the Declaration of Independence… who were those men and what did they declare? Working with Judy H:  Stand on the line to show […]

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