Hi there, parents. Thanks for taking the time to click this link. As I finish up grades, I just wanted to tell you a few things that are on my mind.
First, please get out of the mindset that 4=A, 3=B, 2=C and 1=D. That was the case for most of us in school, and it still applies to most junior high and high school classes. However, here at Westbrook, we do Proficiency Based Grading (PBG). From the district's website:
A score of 1 indicates the student is not proficient in the standard(s), not able to complete the assessment without the teacher’s help. A score of 2 indicates that, on the assessment, the student is approaching proficient in the standard(s) assessed. 3 indicates the student is proficient, and a score of 4 means the student has gone beyond proficiency and demonstrated learning of the standard(s) in a more sophisticated, complex, applied way.
So while we are conditioned to think that all of our kids' grades should be fours, three is actually proficient. A 4 is equivalent to an A+, and is usually a rare thing on most report cards. (Remember, it's beyond proficient.)
Next, for reasons I can't explain - although I have a theory or two - ELA grades tend to go down during the second term every year. Most ELA grades only dropped a few tenths, but some are a bit more dramatic. The latter is due mostly to unfinished or uninspired work on our weekly ELA Small Groups. As a teacher, there are a few things I can do to try to raise grades, and believe me when I tell you I do everything in my capacity to make sure your child gets the best grade. However, if they don't do the work or just do the bare minimum, there's really not much more I can do.
Last, please praise your children. As a father of five children with at least one in every level of school from elementary to college, I know that sometimes children bring home grades which are much lower than their potential. Since there is nothing we can do about it at that point, the only thing we can do is find the good on their report card ("Nice job, you went up in Science") and then help them remedy the situation for the coming terms.
I am truly grateful that this group of kids is going to be my last class here at Westbrook. They are a great bunch and I am beyond blessed to have each and every one of them in my class.
If I can be of help to any of you in any way, please do not hesitate to contact me. Click HERE to go to my contact page. Thank you for all you do for your children and my class. I appreciate you so much.
Wow, that summer seemed very short! And now we're almost back in school again.
I shouldn't complain. A lot of people don't get two months off from their job like I do.
This is going to be an amazing year, but I am going to need you to do your part. First, forget the past. I do not care what you did in fourth grade. That sounds harsh, I know, but there are a lot of people that will try to tell me that you were this and that last year, and I just don't care. People change, so for me what matters is who you will be in fifth grade. And guess what? I have a feeling that you will be awesome! Second, I need you to work hard. You are in school for a relatively small part of your life. Work hard now so you don't have to later. Last, have fun! My class is super fun, but you need to help make it that way. We sing, we dance, we tell dumb jokes. And you will have more fun if you do those things and not worry about what other people may think.
So that's it for now. I will see you on Monday for what is about to be the best year ever.
p.s. Leave a comment here so I know you read it.