Teacher Feature: Danny Rudolf

The way Danny Rudolf moves through the backcountry - quietly and steadily moving forward - is exactly what he’s been doing at The Peak School. This year, Danny’s steadily developed and moved forward with some tremendous projects of great benefit to our school: Peak 2.0, the accreditation process and the assessment and communication enhancement tool, JumpRope. As you know, Peak 2.0 was rolled out after much inquiry within the Peak community, planning and development. This evolution of the Peak Divisions, structure and curriculum brings about logical places for students within a progressive education setting, academic progress, college preparation and more. Also, the accreditation process is a long one with many varying stages; and as our school prepares for its accreditation visit next week, Danny has been a huge part of our readiness.

One of the areas Danny is most excited about is the assessment, data management, reporting and communication tool JumpRope. He has been a key part of the Assessment Task Force, leading parents, students and staff on a journey of investigation and reflection about these areas at Peak. In looking at the strengths and challenges present in the current program, Danny began much arduous research and evaluation to find a tool that meets the identified needs of the Peak community. The need for this is best expressed in Danny’s words per his recent article to the accreditation committee:

Formerly, teachers at Peak relied upon basic Google web-based spreadsheets and documents to manage and share class data. This made organizing, analyzing, and communicating student assessment information cumbersome. One of our 10 common principles is to dedicate resources to teaching and learning. Increasingly, the amount of time spent managing data has felt inconsistent with our desire for teachers to focus on true progressive education practices. As our community has continued to grow (students, staff, and parents), a more simple, robust and useful data management tool is needed. After much exploration and investigation this year, JumpRope was selected for its capacity to manage the assessment of our specific learning objectives in a way that makes sense for us – not just based on traditional assessment (i.e. state standards or common core).

This exciting new tool soon will be piloted with the staff. After further review and tweaking, it will be implemented for the 2015-16 school year. Don’t worry – there will be additional communication and parent/student training sessions.

Concurrently with all this, Danny continues to pursue his Master’s Degree in Science Education, which he hopes to finish this year. We are so fortunate he’s taken time away from these studies to help our community thrive!

Caroline Santinelli