Reporting on Student Learning

October 30, 2013

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:

  1. Aug. 22 – Welcome Back Barbecue – our first chance to meet as a school community
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. Jan. 30 – Report Cards
  5. 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
  6. 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!
D


Creating Better Schools Four Collaborations at a Time…

October 9, 2013

This week has reminded me how educators do not work in isolation. Some wonderful parent had noticed that we were having issues with The safety of our crosswalk area where our safety patrollers support students in safely coming to school and getting home. I went out this morning to find amazingly lovely and professional-looking yellow lines painted on the road and it looks amazing. I love it when others look at ways to help create a better community school, and Keeler is exceptional in this way!

1. Community Support – In the past year, Keeler school has received donations from private families, private companies, large corporations, as well as support from agencies, the provincial government, the AGLC, and our School Council and parents. This makes me remember that there are many people on our side who want to help, but just don’t always know how. Thank you for stepping up to work with us for better outcomes for our wonderful Keeler Cougar students.

2. Collaboration with Students – I love when I ask students, or they just feel free to come talk to me, about an issue… A group of grade 6 boys came to me and said they were playing a lot of football outside and it would be awesome to have a football club. They said they were having some small issues around 2-hand touch, and that maybe this would help. What an opportunity! They had a problem, but they came to me with a solution as well! How sweet is that!

3. Professional Collaboration – The same can be said for professional educators and schools. We need to keep in mind that one individual never has the best answers, and that it is through conversation and collaboration that we get to better places. Time always seems to hinder this work, but we just need to make sure we utilize greater professional conversation to support each other.

4. Online Collaboration – A huge tool I have been utilizing for collaboration is an online professional learning strategy. Twitter is amazing for this, as I follow a number of amazing educators to share with and borrow ideas and resources from, such as @stevewclark, @gcouros, @sjunkins, @ChrisWejr, @mik_enzie, and @derekrakowski. The Area III Learning Commons Blog, which is a grassroots blog created by some amazing teachers in our area, is amazing to follow and is at http://a3lc.blogspot.ca/, our own Keeler School Weebly Site allows us to share our students work at http://keelercommons.weebly.com/, and of course utilizing this blog for my own personal professional reflection (https://unravelingnewfrontiers.wordpress.com).

Think about that all those many times that a group of people sit down together and come up with ideas or solutions that art 10 times better than they could have done alone. This is why I love education, as I have learned that I do not know it all, and that by talking with others we can always come up with better solutions.

Work hard, learn tons!
D


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