January 20 marks the end of the semester. Whatever your perspective – student, parent, school employee – it means the same to all. The school year is half over.
On January 23 students will stay home and staff will report for a day of training, lesson writing and grade recording. Report cards will be out on January 31.
This is an important time for parents to take a close look at their child’s progress and determine if things are going well or if intervention is necessary. Remember, teachers don’t “give” grades. Students “earn” grades as a result of the work they have completed. So, whatever you see on the report card should clearly reflect what your child has accomplished through his or her effort.
Most of our students give us their best effort and that effort is sufficient to earn satisfactory marks on the report card. If things are going well, I urge parents to send a note of appreciation to the teacher or teachers responsible. E-mail is fine. Send a copy to the principal, too. Teachers, like students, derive a lot of energy from the occasional pat on the back. Don’t presume that they know they are appreciated.
Not everyone will make satisfactory marks. (Heaven knows I didn’t - especially in middle school.) When that happens, I urge you to contact the teacher and find out what the trouble may be. If the child is genuinely struggling with the material, ask the teacher what options are available for extra help. All of our schools offer a variety of focused attention both during the school day and after school. Is your child getting that extra opportunity to learn?
Often, poor marks reflect poor effort and poor attitude. Assignments not turned in, failure to study for a test, entertaining the others in class – all are common contributors to poor marks. If the teacher advises you that issues such as these are the main reason behind poor grades, then we’re going to need more help from home. There could be a need for closer monitoring of homework, limits to T.V. and video games or some sort of reward plan for making positive improvements.
We like to think that we are partners in your child’s learning. The teacher, the child and the home must all be working together for maximum success. Teachers hate to see children fail, because it means the teacher failed as well.
There is no question that parent involvement enhances student success. Communication is the key to that positive partnership. By working together, we are confident your child will succeed.