Last year, one of the goals of the School Leadership Team was to revisit our school mission. We were able to synthesize it down to a few words (you can read a more expanded version here.) Our mission is to nurture students who are
- Confident and
This month during our SLT meeting, we launched work on clarifying how we plan for effective communication between school and home. As we approach the middle of November, we want to communicate how our students are growing in these important ways. Test scores and report card grades are tools that measure and communicate how students are performing in terms of New York State learning standards. Teachers work hard on assessments and grading and these scores are an important piece of the puzzle in understanding a child’s successes and challenges. However, the qualities of curiosity, kindness, and confidence that are so essential to success in life are better communicated through conversations and anecdotes.
At 276, we make it a priority to know each student well. Teachers work with students one on one and in small groups, they observe students in different social and academic settings, they assess student work products, they talk to their colleagues to learn how students act in other classes, and they know about cognitive development and diverse learning styles. They use this knowledge to develop an understanding of a child’s curiosity, the academic, social and emotional skills they have and need to hone, the confidence that they are developing in different situations, and their compassion and empathy.
We know how important it is for families to understand how their children are progressing in school. We have multiple ways that we communicate with families. For grades PreK through 5, we invite parents in for Family Fridays and send emails home about the curriculum and what children are learning. In middle school, when students are craving increased autonomy, we send home progress reports shortly before conferences to provide insights into how students are doing.
Next week, is Open School Week when parents are invited to visit the school and observe classes. We also hold parent-teacher conferences next week. In grades PreK to 4, parents meet with teachers to learn about their child’s progress. Starting in grade 5, we have student-led conferences because we know that students need to be part of these conversations if we want them to be able to set goals and advocate for themselves. Student-led conferences are a powerful strategy to help students become confident and capable learners.
We know that in order to support each student, we need to enter into conversations about student learning with a positive, collaborative perspective. Please keep the following in mind for conferences:
- Students need to know that parents, staff, and students are one team. A collaborative relationship is essential for student success.
- Everyone on the team wants the child to be successful in all areas of life and learning.
- We care about the whole child — academics, social/emotional well-being, and physical safety. We may discuss homework, friendships, in-class participation, and even if they are eating lunch or drinking enough water.
- We recognize that all participants in the conference are bringing unique and important perspectives and expertise.
- Conferences are only one snapshot of student learning.
Report cards go home in December and March about 3-4 weeks after conferences. This gives students a chance to try out some strategies discussed in conferences so that they get recognition for this work on their report card. The final report card goes home in June. It has grades for the third term and also final grades for the year Our report cards are standards-based and use the format required by the Department of Education. The criteria used to evaluate student progress are aligned with Common Core Learning Standards and report how students are doing in regards to meeting these standards.
If you have other questions about our school program or policies, you can check out our school website. It hosts many documents that describe our school policies and curriculum.
- Our family handbook can be found here as a pdf.
- Our school calendar is updated here as well.
- Middle school curriculum handouts from back to school night are on the website.
- And we have curriculum overview documents posted.
Each of these resources can provide more information about our school policies and programs.