Parent/Teacher Conferences will take place on Tuesday, December 10th 1-4pm and Thursday, December 12th 5-8pm. Please check with your child's teacher for your date and time. Report Cards will be going home on Friday, December 6th.
With parent-teacher conferences coming next week, we want to share some information on ways to help everyone make the most of the opportunities conferences offer. The Harvard Family Research Project ...more
The first marking period of the year is coming to a close over the next week. This is a time when teachers compile the information they have for monitoring students learning and share it with parents through a report card. At grades four through six, teachers use letter grades to indicate a level of learning and achievement. Often, these letter grades cause a variety of emotional reactions, from pride to joy to disappointment. Which is unfortunate.
Focusing on the grade one “gets” takes the emphasis off the real goal of school – to learn; to learn the knowledge, skills, habits, and attitudes needed to make sense of the world – to keep learning -- and to responsibly make and take a place in it. Teachers work with students daily to help them acquire these things, learning from errors and mistakes and persevering in the face of difficulties. These are life skills we all need to have. Teachers also model and teach students how to show respect, to take personal responsibility for their actions and learning, to make decisions wisely, and to act out of kindness and compassion for others. These can be captured only in part through the letter grades, as contributors to academic learning and achievement. Teachers add additional information on how students are developing these in the section devoted to Factors Affecting School Success. Parents should realize that these factors influence children’s learning and success across all areas of their lives.
When the report cards come home, particularly the cards with letter grades, I encourage parents to talk with their child about what the report says about their learning, not just what grade they “got”. What things are they developing and understanding well? Why do they think they are? What about the areas of lower development? What factors are preventing greater growth there? What can and will they do to improve in these areas? What excites them in their learning? Why? What support might they need from their teachers? From you, their parents? How do the Factors Affecting School Success connect with their learning?
The parent conferences in December will provide parents with a chance to talk personally with teachers about their children’s growth and learning. The discussion resulting from the questions above might be something to share in the conference.
Report cards arrive home in a couple of weeks. They provide a snapshot of our students’ learning that can be made more meaningful for parents by looking at them in context with their children. I suggest parents do this with an emphasis on their child’s learning, not only on the grade entered on the card. The parent conferences in December are then an opportunity for teachers and parents to talk about how their children are growing and developing in school, sharing ideas for how to best support his or her learning.
As a school, we endeavor to keep parents well informed about their child’s work and progress in school. If you have any questions about these things, please contact your child’s teacher right away.