What Does It Mean to Be Challenged?

What Does It Mean to Be Challenged?

Parent Focus Groups
June 8, 2015
Tuesday, June 16 – 6:00 pm
Wednesday, June 17  – 8:00 am

When I was in graduate school working toward my principal’s certification, I took a yearlong course called “Improving Schools” with Roland Barth, founder of the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Principals’ Center.  The class was rigorous – lots of reading with a weekly “two-pager” writing assignment. The writing pushed me to synthesize the reading and reflect on its meaning for work in schools.  One was motivated to complete the assignments in order to participate fully in the rich discussions with peers – all adeptly facilitated by a wise and skillful teacher.  I felt engaged – and appropriately challenged.

What does it mean for your child to be appropriately challenged in school? A few weeks ago, I reported on school survey results and pointed out that an area that emerged from the survey as needing a deeper look was academic challenge. 75% of families agreed their child is being challenged to high expectation – a lower level of satisfaction than we saw in other areas.  Academic challenge was also the most often cited area mentioned among the open-response comments by parents (34 comments).

We’d like to learn more about what parents mean by being “challenged to meet high expectations.”   We’d like to hear about times you feel your child has been appropriately challenged – in and out of school.   What level of challenge do you want for your child?  Is challenge further developing an area of strength or being challenged across disciplines?  Do you see challenge as student-driven, independent work or teacher-driven?

To help us gain a deeper understanding of this issue, I invite you to join us for one of two parent focus groups next week– one in the evening and one in the morning.  We intend to use what we learn from these focus groups to inform our ongoing efforts to ensure all students are appropriately challenged.  Come be part of the conversation. 

School Council Parent Representatives

There are two open seats for two-year terms as School Council parent representative next year. Interested candidates should send a brief (one paragraph) statement to lawrenceschoolpto@gmail.com by Friday, June 12.   If an election is necessary, it will be held during the week of June 15. School council meets once a month on Tuesday mornings from 8:00-9:00 a.m. with some subcommittee work in between.

According to the Massachusetts 1993 Education Reform Act, the school council acts in an advisory capacity to the principal on matters related to school improvement and helps to identify school goals and develop the annual school improvement plan. I value the school council as a place where parents and teachers can talk together about educational matters.  I believe that school council should focus on the “big picture” of the school community: What kind of school do we want this school to be and how do we get there?  This year, we worked on developing a vision for how technology should be used to enhance teaching and learning.   This vision statement will be finalized during the summer and be used to shape our work in this area next year.

If you would like more information about School Council, please feel free to contact one of our current parent representatives (Keith Carson, Grace Fehrenbach, Florrie Ives, Charu Puri-Sharma and Jin Suk), Vice Principal Laura Horst or me for more information.

Rick Rogers

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