Principal Mackey’s Blog 08.20.18

Hello TAG family!

The first day of school is almost upon us and we hope that you are as thrilled to kick off this new year as we are! TAG teachers back in full swing and are putting the finishing touches on their classrooms and getting every last detail in order to welcome all of our TAGgies back to school on Monday. I’m looking forward to standing in the hallway bright and early, with my coffee in hand, to welcome everyone back as well!

We want to thank all of the new students and families for joining us in early August for a phenomenal Flight School. We’re also glad that so many of you were able to join us at our TAG Meet-the-Teacher on Tuesday, August 14!

For those of you who are new to the TAG family, every year we end the year with something called the ‘TAG Ideas Festival.’ During this event, every student is asked to give anonymous feedback on individual courses and the overall TAG experience. They participate in focus groups and outreach projects. Each summer we take all this data and pour over it to pull out trends and focus areas for the school and in classrooms. Just as we ask our students to always look for ways to improve themselves, we strive to do the same as a school. Below are a few areas that came up that we have made some changes on this year as a campus:

• MORE ELECTIVES:

Every year, our students clamor for more unique, rigorous, and fun academic electives and this year we’ve been able to add quite a few. These electives include: 1960s History, Film Studies, a Logic & Games course, Debate 1 & 2, and Creative Writing amongst others.

• STANDARD INSTRUCTIONAL CALENDARS:

We heard over and over from students that it has been incredibly helpful to have printed and soft copy calendars for all events over the course of a six weeks from the beginning of each six weeks. Every TAG class will have a hard copy and soft copy calendar overview of the six weeks from the first day of the six weeks.

• ENHANCEMENT OF THE TAG BUDDY SYSTEM: Many TAG students have shared that they enjoyed having a TAG upperclassman buddy, but lamented the fact that there was not more structured time to get to know them during the year. We have a task force of teachers working on a much more robust and systematized buddy/advisory/house system for TAG (think Harry Potter sorting hat!). We will engage students on this design process during the year and roll it out by the end of the year.

While these are some of the larger school-wide changes, they are certainly not all of them. At the same time, we encourage students to reflect back on their previous years of school, either at TAG or in other schools, and be intentional this year in trying new things, joining new clubs, and in making new friends. It’s so easy to quickly fall back into habits of previous years, so take the time now to think about how you want to expand your horizons at TAG this year. You, students, are the architects of your own experience here at TAG! In this email you’ll find lots of different links to items that may be helpful for the start of the school year. If you have any questions or are wondering about anything, don’t hesitate to call the TAG office at 972-925-5974.

Looking forward to a wonderful year!

Ben Mackey, Principal