Welcome to Down Home, San Luis Obispo Classical Academy’s blog! We are a classical school offering options to make education work for families. We have a full hybrid program for grades pre-12, which means part-time classroom and part-time home instruction with a 4 day option for middle school and a university model high school. This blog is meant to support and encourage on the home front because in so many ways, the heart of what happens at SLO Classical Academy happens down home.

Semper discentes – always learning together.
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Progress Reports + Veterans Day

progress reports

Student Progress Reports are due! For today’s Tuesday’s Tell-All, we’ve invited Paige Bartel (Math + Science Teacher) and Susie Theule (Executive and Visionary Director) to join us to share the vision behind our new progress report format. Last week’s Bare Necessities video, for our current families, included a comprehensive video about this very topic. If you haven’t already done so, make sure to take the time to view it.

In our commitment to continue to strive towards a growth mindset, SLOCA regularly looks for ways to improve how we provide a “unique, safe and challenging environment for your students to flourish” in. One of the ways SLOCA does this is through our progress reports. We have a new format and new language on our reports this year and we wanted to highlight the reasons for this change and how we feel it impacts the whole student.


Question: What will the teacher’s progress report version look like?

Answer: One of SLOCA’s goals for this year’s progress report format change is to fully and clearly communicate what our teachers want to convey in these reports. This has resulted in much more condensed document “that represents all the very best elements of reporting on your children.”

Question: What’s with the descriptive words like celebrate, needing care, taking root, solid growth, and flourishing all about?

Answer: Using these descriptions of students progress are more reflective of the learning process we see in each student’s work. We believe all students can achieve well with attention and commitment and we want our word choices to reflect that. As products of our achievement-focused culture, it’s tempting to scan the report to see how many “excellents” or “A’s” our kids got. If we see anything less than perfection, we worry and wonder, “what’s wrong?!” We want to challenge this perspective and the cultural pressure for our kids to be superstars. It isn’t a constructive way to think about kids who are in school to learn and grow, and shows little-to-no long-term benefits. We want to see our students moving forward, always learning, always growing. This is a celebration of your student’s hard work and accomplishments!

Question: How do you help my student, who may have gotten used to the previous way of evaluation, fully embrace this new language?

Answer: Reframing school and assessment can be a real challenge for those of us achieving types who’ve been taught that straight “A’s” provide the most value in one’s life.  Let’s be really honest – they don’t. Basing our identity on good grades and how smart we are has actually been shown to reduce our desire to take on challenges, spoil our love of learning, and can lead to anxiety and depression. Praising effort over achievement, however, has been shown to encourage acceptance of new and greater challenges and advancement). For more information, please read Mindset: The New Psychology of Success  by Carol Dweck available in our school bookstore.


Thank you, Susie and Paige, for imparting to us the perspective behind our new progress reports! You are inspiring us to embrace the growth mindset!

We leave you now with the quote that Susie also shared on the video:

“Why waste time proving over and over how great you are, when you could be getting better? Why hide deficiencies instead of overcoming them? Why look for friends or partners who will just shore up your self-esteem instead of ones who will also challenge you to grow? And why seek out the tried and true, instead of experiences that will stretch you? The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives.”


An Important Reminder…

This coming Sunday marks the Centennial Commemoration of the end of World War I on November 11, 1918. The theme for the 2018 Veterans Day Poster is: “The War to End All Wars” and features a poppy and barbed wire. We invite you to celebrate within your communities! For our current families, you can find resources specific to Veteran’s Day in your parent portal under Holiday Resources.

Veterans Day 2018
{photo by the Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs}