December 7, 2008
As I walked through classes this past week, I observed students from kindergarten through the fifth grade steeped in careful reflection as they wrote about their learning processes. It is gratifying to see the students approach the organization of their progress portfolios and selection of pieces with seriousness and thoughtfulness.
When parents, child, and classroom teacher meet for the end-of-semester
conference this Thursday or Friday (kindergartners through fifth
graders), the process begins with an assessment of the student's
strengths and what the student is able to do, as identified by the
student and the teacher and documented in the portfolio. The conference
will include discussion about what the student needs to continue to
develop into the second semester. Some teachers will have asked their
students to identify some learning goals for the next semester.
Parents will be able to review their child's portfolio prior to the
conference; however, every portfolio is taken home after the conference
so that the parents and student together can more carefully review each
portfolio selection. Having conversations about the student's learning
creates a strong foundation between parent and child and fosters a
positive attitude toward learning.
It's important to keep in mind, as we so often remind parents and
students, that learning is an ongoing process often riddled with errors
and mistakes, all of which are attempts that lead to achievement.
Think of the number of times we practice -- a golf swing, a dance step,
a brush stroke on a canvas, crafting a paragraph -- in order to get
better. So it is with the learning demonstrated by our students.
While it is common for parents to expect perfection, perhaps valuing a
math sheet without any errors, or a flawless final piece of student
writing, the errors provide information about the student's
understanding and where the teacher needs to provide more instruction
or a different approach. We celebrate the risk-taker and the
The specialists --teachers of art, physical education, music, and
character education -- will be available to meet with parents on
conference days. However, I recommend that you send an email to these
teachers to arrange for a specific meeting time. The work of your
children in these classes is just as important as reading, writing,
mathematics, and inquiry. Here are the email addresses for your
convenience: Pam Jenkins (PE), email@example.com; Jill Brooks
Johnson (art), firstname.lastname@example.org; Shirley Rivera (CE for grades 3-5,
counselor) email@example.com; Lori Abe (CE for grades K-2), (PS
character education and physical education), firstname.lastname@example.org; Diane
Koshi (music) email@example.com;
Jordan Guillory (PS atelierista), firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are happy to have accommodated all parents needing childcare on
Thursday and Friday. However, we will be unable to take any walk-ins or
anyone not already signed up as of this past Friday. We have adequate
supervision as required by the Department of Human Services for the
number of children already enrolled in childcare during the conference
days. Parents must remember to send their children to school with a
snack and/or lunch, depending on the length of stay. Students must
wear athletic shoes or sandals with straps if they want to play during
recess on the playstructure and playcourt.
This Wednesday, December 10, is Choice Day, or free dress day. We
missed an opportunity last week because there was no school on the
first Friday of December.
All parents should have received an envelope in the Friday packet
(manila envelope) containing three tickets per family for the Christmas
program on December 19, 6:00pm., one performance only. There is
limited seating in Bakken Auditorium, which will have been newly
renovated with new seats, flooring, air-conditioning, and lights. If
you do not need the tickets issued to your family, please return the
tickets to the school office as soon as possible so that we can
re-issue tickets to other families requesting more tickets.
On this December 7th, we remember the brave-hearted of Pearl Harbor.
For our children,
Edna L. Hussey