Issue 75 | November 20, 2014 | The Discussion

When it comes to literature and history assignments, would you like another idea on how a student can reinforce the concepts / events / stories learned, rather than using the essay - approach? How about a discussion? Below, you will read about how you may not only plan a quality discussion, but you can also assign a grade to the process.


NARHS's Credentials

We just recently received a letter from Randy Kassa, who is the Director of School enrollment, Homeschooling, and School approval for the Maine Department of Education. NARHS is definitely a different kind of school, and because of our uniqueness, we have come up against questions from time-to-time regarding our program.  After discussing this with Mr. Randy Kassa, he was more than willing to issue this letter, which all of you will also appreciate, I am sure.

Letter from Maine DOE - Click to download

Also involved with our credentials, NARHS has just been awarded a "site-visit" date from the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.  On June 29 and 30 we will be visited by three guests from MSA-CESS who will inspect our program in 12 different areas to determine if we qualify for full accreditation.  The twelve standards that we have been working on and they will be observing include:

  • School mission
  • Governance and leadership
  • School improvement planning
  • School organization and Staff Standards
  • Finances
  • Facilities
  • Health and Safety
  • Educational Program
  • Assessment and Evidence of Student Learning
  • Student Services
  • Student Activities
  • Information Resources

The designation of "fully accredited" will make a tremendous difference for you and us.  Therefore we will keep you posted on this development.

The Discussion

The DISCUSSION can be a valuable means to determine depth of understanding for concepts, develop important discussion skills and also eliminate the need for lengthy work on an essay.  Here is an easy step-by-step method for utilizing the rubric effectively:
1. Select from the "Suggested Criteria" a list of 10 criteria upon which the student should concentrate.  Write them on lines 1-10 on the rubric.
2. Talk about how each criteria would be used in a discussion.
3. Conduct the discussion based on a list of questions or an essay topic.
4. After the discussion concludes, go through each of the criteria on the rubric evaluating the student's effort TOGETHER.
The final grade for this exercise will not only reflect the student's understanding of the material, but also the effort made toward having a quality discussion. 
This is teaching at its finest.  

Click to download Discussion Rubric