It is interesting watching the news as there has been a lot in the digital world on some comments that teaching is a job like parenting, and that anyone can do it. I would say that effective teaching (and effective parenting) is another story… Parenting is not easy! Good educating is technically sophisticated and difficult, requires high levels of education and long periods of training, is developed through continuous improvement, involves wise judgment informed by evidence and experience, and is a collective accomplishment and responsibility among all of our stakeholders, including teachers, students, parents, and our community.
Reporting on our students’ learning is a big part of that work. I love my own children and know them well as a dad, but I am not there to see their performance and thinking while they are at school. I rely on our kids’ teachers to help me with that. There has been a lot of discussion around what excellent reporting of learning looks like, and I would say the biggest part of all of this is back to “relationships.”
The greater the relationships we try to create with parents, as teachers and principals, the greater the understanding of the successes and needs of their individual child. In order to provide parents with greater information and understanding about their child’s learning, as well as to provide more opportunities more often, Keeler school has developed the following reporting plan for the 2013-14 school year:
- Aug. 22 – Welcome Back Barbecue – our first chance to meet as a school community
- Sept. 19/20 – Meet the Teacher Conferences and Individual Program Plan Development – our first formal meeting with parents to develop learning plans and goals for individual students
- Dec. 5/6 – Parent Teacher Conferences and Individual Program Plan Reviews – an opportunity to meet with the teacher to examine your child’s growth and develop next steps
- Jan. 30 – Report Cards
- Mar. 20/21 – Student Led Conferences and Individual Program Plan Reviews – an opportunity to have your child “show off,” meet with the teacher to examine your child’s growth and develop next steps
- June 25 – Final Report Cards
This allows parents to be receiving information and providing input every couple of months. This formal reporting process would also be matched with informal reporting processes such as:
- Notes in Students Agendas
- Phone discussions with teachers
- Letters to or from the teacher
- Tracking and Monitoring Tools
- Individual Program Plans (IPPs) for Students who are Coded
- Iris – an online tool for students and teachers in creating Learning Plans and documenting student learning. We have just stared using this, so more information will be forthcoming.
- Informal meetings before or after school
- Formal meetings scheduled as needed
Knowing that we are all on the same team and trying to enhance the learning that our students are undertaking is the biggest part of helping our students be successful!
Work hard, learn tons!