Positive Communication

Positive Communication: One Tool for Success

All students want to be successful.  We all want our children to develop a love of learning that enables them to discover their strengths and passions as they bolster areas of development.

In a recent Newton Tab article called “The Paradox of Pushing our Kids to Succeed,“ Dr. Lynn Margolies suggests:  “Our teens are embedded in a culture driven by competition and perfectionism, where by success is defined by status, performance and appearance.  These values are transmitted to our children through our emotional state and through what we notice, are impressed with, and praise or discourage them in…

Pushing teens to be the best is well intentioned…Ironically, parents’ hyper vigilance about teen’s grades and future success backfires psychologically and academically.  When parents are overly invested in performance, kids are less likely to develop their own, more sustainable, motivation.

Further making the stakes too high engenders fear, leading teens to avert possible failure at all costs.  This level of stress propels homework avoidance, compromises executive functions, inhibits curiosity and new challenges and increases lying.”

Both home and school supports are instrumental in the academic, social and emotional growth of every child.  Throughout the year students receive reports that indicate how they are achieving at a given time.  These updates are provided to communicate how students are doing in their classes and provide information to help guide discussions that focus on continued success and/or improvements in the future.

Grade 6-8 Interim Progress Reports/Report Cards:

Interim progress reports are given half way through each quarter.  This is a great time to talk to your child about how he/she feels he/she is doing in each class.  If he/she has concerns or questions, contacting the teacher at this point is helpful to discuss the issue and create a plan for improvement.

Report cards are given at the end of each quarter to share with parents/guardians how their child performed during the term.  It should be used as a tool to self reflect on the past term and make goals for the upcoming term.

Reviewing IPRs and report cards should be a positive and productive learning experience:

1.  Discussion, not lecture

Ask your child to share his/her reaction to the report.  Ask him/her to reflect on his/her effort in class and on homework to see if he/she can draw a connection between his/her daily input and grades.

2.  Praise your child for behaviors you have seen over the term.  Try to highlight a positive behavior even if a particular class has a low grade.

3.  Discuss areas of development by focusing on behaviors and skills needed to make them better.  Focus on short-term goals connected to these behaviors and skills.  It is important to share that we all have strengths and areas of challenge.  Look for positive patterns in one class that can be applied to a more challenging course.

4.  Make it clear that any consequences given directly relate to the goal for improvement.  For example, limiting time on computer to increase time spent on homework.

5.  Communicate with your child’s teacher.  Ask him/her for suggestions/strategies that will help your child improve.  (first name_last name@brookline.k12.ma.us)

6.  Modeling how to work with the teacher is a strong lesson for every student. The hope is that each child will learn over time how to self advocate and get the help the need.

2013-2014 Interim Progress Reports and Report Card Dates for Grades 6-8

10/11/13-Term 1 IPRs issued by school-sent home with student

11/15/13-Term 1 Report Cards issued by school- sent home with student

12/20/13- Term 2 IPRs issued by school-sent home with student

1/31/14- Term 2 Report Cards issued by school- sent home with student

3/7/14- Term 3 IPRs issued by school-sent home with student

4/17/14- Term 3 Report Cards issued by school- sent home with student

5/16/14- Term 4 IPRs issued by school-sent home with student

6/20/14- Last day if no snow days- Term 4 Report Cards issued by school- Mailed Home

Happy listening, talking and guiding,

Monica Crowley

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