What Every Parent Needs to Know for the Conference - Mid-Pacific Institute

Elementary School Principal's Blog

What Every Parent Needs to Know for the Conference

Posted on December 3, 2017

by Dr. Edna Hussey on December 3, 2017

In preparation for your childʻs conference (Thursday or Friday), please take a few minutes to read this informational blog about what to anticipate this week. Classroom teachers and specialists will be emailing a link to your childʻs performance continua and ePortfolio on Tuesday after 2:30pm. Please review the "report card" prior to your scheduled conference.

PERFORMANCE CONTINUA (Kindergarten through Fifth Grade)

We report each studentʻs learning progress using a continuum of developing skills in reading, writing, inquiry (integrated social studies and science), art, music, and physical education. We use the math assessment provided by the math series (Math Investigations). Due to the internal and introspective nature of character education, a continuum is not appropriate, so teacher commentaries are provided for each student. A curriculum overview of the first semester in music, art, physical education is located in the specialistsʻ blogs.

A continuum consists of descriptions of observable skills and behaviors across five levels of growth from kindergarten through second grade, with another continuum for grades three through five. When you receive your childʻs continua, read the explanation provided for these levels of growth. The descriptions (we refer to them as "descriptors") while based on assessment language from national/state standrds, are very much informed by student learning we see daily.

We have revised the Inquiry Continuum to better reflect the continuity of learning and instructional approach across the grade levels. For this reason, the Inquiry Continuum reflects the span of inquiry learning from kindergarten through fifth grade. If youʻre a returning parent, youʻll note a revision in how weʻre defining the inquiry process. If your child is in kindergarten or multiage 1-2, you will be seeing the same Inquiry Continuum as your child matriculates to the upper elementry grades.

Due to the continuum change, you will not be able to see your childʻs previous placement on the continuum due to an improved definition of the inquiry process and new descriptors.

PROGRESS OF LEARNING PORTFOLIOS (Preschool & Elementary)

Two significant changes with the portfolios!

1. All elementary students select artifacts (evidence) of learning using the Learner Profile traits.

Screenshot 2017-09-10 13.49.38.pngThe children have spent considerable time thinking about what each of these traits means in relation to their learning across the curriculum. Shifting the thinking about learning from isolated subject areas to learning as skills, behaviors, and attitudes across the curriculum will support a richer, deeper understanding about their own learning processes. This thinking process is called metacognition, higher-level thinking we want our students to engage in daily. The teachers decided on a number of traits relevant and appropriate to the grade level for their students to reflect on and guide their selection of artifacts.

2. Portfolios now operate on the Google platform rather than Evernote. Though we are working through some glitches using this platform, Google is free. We will be refining usage for our students and faculty.

A note to Preschool Parents: Your childʻs Learning Story -- a narrative account of the studentʻs thinking using symbols via video clips -- is available in his/her Learning Portfolio. This Learning Portfolio will continue as your child matriculates through the elementary grades.

STUDENT-PARENT-TEACHER CONFERENCE

All elementary students are required to attend the conference with their parents and classroom teacher. The student, after all, is the star of the conference! Parents, the conference is intended to celebrate your childʻs learning strengths, and every child has several strengths. Please also discuss altogether the areas your child needs to continue to grow and develop. A plan of action is usually discussed to ensure that specific strategies are implemented in the second semester. If you would like to schedule a conference with any or all of the specialists, couselor, or learnig specialist, please email them directly as soon as possible --

Abbey Day, art specialist, aday@midpac.edu

Jordan Guillory, preschool/kinder art specialist, jguillory@midpac.edu

Sarahlea Kekuna, music specialist, skekuna@midpac.edu

Preston Pires, physical education specialist, ppires@midpac.edu

Lori Abe, character education specialist, labe@midpac.edu

Shirley Rivera, counselor, srivera@midpac.edu

Kathleen Hassler, learning specialist, khassler@midpac.edu

A Conference Summary pdf written by your childʻs classroom teacher will be emailed home by December 15.

The faculty invests their time knowing your child as a learner. The knowing (or assessing) is every day in the classroom, from the moment your child steps into the learning environment. The continua, portfolio, and conference are important touchpoints that provide a holistic view of the learner. This process is radically different from the letter grades we received when we were students, a rather dismissive and short-changed assessment of learning. How can a letter grade represent the complexities of learning processes? Moreover, your child is assessed on performance standards and not compared to other students. This is our educational philosophy, one of the reasons youʻve chosen Mid-Pacific as your childʻs learning environment, and we thank you for being a supportive partner.

If youʻve read this blog before your childʻs conference and reviewed the continua and portfolio, youʻre ready! Your child is prepared for the conference.

We look forward to seeing you at the conference.

E Kūlia Kākou! Letʻs strive and aspire together!

For our children,

Edna L. Hussey, Ed.D.

Principal