November Calendar Notes
No School Tuesday, November 11 – Veterans Day
Early Dismissal Days (12:40 Dismissal – Lunch will be served)
- Wednesday, November 12 (K-6 only)
- Tuesday, November 18 (K-8)
- Wednesday, December 3 (K-12)
- Tuesday, December 9 (K-8)
Parent Conferences (K-6) & Updated Progress Reports (Gr. 1-5)
Parent conferences begin in Grade K-6 on Wednesday November 12 and run through early December. Conferences provide an opportunity for parents and teachers to take stock of how a child is doing and to identify goals for a child’s continued learning and development. Conferences are an important way for you to be, in the words our school vision: “active, involved, and well-informed partners in the learning process.”
Parents in grades 1-5 receive a written narrative progress report about their child’s performance. Teachers review the report with you and discuss your child’s progress, along with goals or next steps for continued learning. This fall, we continue to phase in an approach called “standards-based reporting” that is intended to provide you with more specific information about your child’s growth in terms of Brookline’s Learning Expectations. The updated progress report asks teachers to assess student performance against a specific and observable set of grade level expectations and end-of-year standards. Last year, changes were made in Mathematics and in Work Habits and Skills. This year, we expand the standards-based approach to English Language Art, Science and Social Studies.
We hope you find these changes informative and helpful. For additional information about our new progress reports, please refer to the attached “Progress Reports Parent/Guardian Guide.”
Preparing for Parent-Teacher Conferences
Here are some suggestions to help make your parent conference productive and helpful:
- Talk to your child before the conference. Ask what s/he likes about school, what s/he doesn’t like, what work is easy, what is challenging, and whether there was anything s/he wants the teacher to know.
- Take time to be prepared. Make a list of questions and concerns. Prioritize your list so you’ll be sure to cover the most critical topics before your time is up at the conference. Write down your questions and concerns to refer to during the conference.
- Assume good intentions and work to build mutual trust and respect. Effective communication begins with listening, using a respectful tone, and asking questions. Both teachers and parents care deeply about children, which can sometimes lead to strong emotions. We need to be mindful of when strong feelings may be interfering with communication.
- Remember that we bring different perspectives. Parents and teachers see children in different settings. How a child functions in a large group or responds to the demands of school may be different than how a child acts at home. Parents know their child over time. Teachers know how children are doing within what is typical or expected for the age group. Parents are advocates for their child. Teachers need to be advocates for all the children in their classroom.
- At the end of your conference, be sure you leave with an understanding of goals and next steps for your child.
For additional suggestions and resources on parent-teacher conferences, I recommend this link from the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP): http://www.nasponline.org/resources/home_school/ptconf.aspx.