Weekly Digest

Dear Parents/Guardians,

It looks like we made the right call by rescheduling our trip to Gesstwood.  We toughed it out on Fighting Island but we wouldn’t have been able to do much at Gesstwood yesterday.  If you haven’t already done so, please initial the ammended permission form and return it to the school as soon as possible.  Please note that we will be returning one hour earlier than originally scheduled.  This is to accommodate the grade eight graduation that will be taking place later that night and both Ms. Siu and I are needed for that.

Tomorrow is a PA Day and I will begin working on your child’s report card.  I thought I’d take a moment to clarify a few “myths” about the reporting process.  Often, when parents and students see the grades on the first report, they just assume that this is the level of their child; in some cases, it can be.  However, the material and assessment is different from term to term and students, therefore, respond differently too.  A student with a B+ in reading in term one isn’t guaranteed the same grade in term two.  If your child’s grades have risen or dropped in any subject area, it’s not that they’re getting any better or worse in that subject; merely, it’s a reflection of how they responded to the expectations for that particular term and the material presented.  We’re not comparing apples to apples because they’re not doing the same things in term one as they did in term two.  For instance, a child may excel with graphing in term one , but struggle with probability in term two.  Both are from the same strand of the math curriculum and a drop in grades might make a parent think that the child has taken a step back; this is far from the case.  Apples and oranges, rather.   Last year, I had a parent ask me about his daughter’s “drop” in reading from an A- to a B+.  It wasn’t a drop.  She was just more challenged by the different material we learned in term two.  In reading, we look for so much more than fluency and comprehension.

Also keep in mind that the assessment process is multifaceted.  You may only see grades on tests, quizzes and rubrics but things like observation, anecdotal notes, class presentations, participation/discussion, and groupwork are all a part of the overall grade; things you don’t see because you’re not in the classroom.

Typically, all the students are ever interested in is the letter grade and whether they went up or down.  This is the wrong way of looking at it.  Sadly, we’re too focused on grades rather than the learning journey it takes to get good ones.  If students make the most of each learning moment, then the grades will come with it.  It’s all about changing one’s mindset.  If there’s anything that I can recommend that you pay close attention to, it’s the Learning Skills comment at the bottom of the first page.  This is where teachers can be honest and candid about your child’s school habits.  Success here tends to carry into the subject areas where those letter grades do appear.

I hope this is useful in preparing you for the final report card, which will be sent home on the last day of school.

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