Welcome to March! Hopefully spring is around the corner!
A team of evaluators representing New York State Education Department visited our school for three days in late January. They visited classrooms and conducted interviews with teachers, parents, administrator, and students. They provided valuable recommendations as well as highlighting our articulate, confident, and delightful students.
All of their recommendations are with the intent of increasing the academic skills of all of the students. One of the biggest goals for student growth is to promote ways for students to ‘
take ownership of their learning.’ This can be displayed in a variety of ways. All students in Grades PreK-Grade 6 had a writing (drawing for the PreK students) assignment before the February break on how they can take ownership of their learning. A sixth grade student wrote he would use educational websites such as Study Island and LearnZillion to enhance his skills. Another sixth grade student declared she will be more organized and prepared for school and watch less television. A fourth-grade child promised she will create flash cards and practice her math facts with her Mom. Another fourth grade student stated they will improve their division facts by using BrainPop.
Being prepared with sharpened pencils and completing homework nightly along with daily reading for 30-45 minutes are further ways how students can
take ownership of their learning. We also want all K-3 students and parents to be aware of their DRA (Diagnostic Reading Assessment) scores and that by putting extra effort into their reading, they can become stronger readers. Parents can help by asking their children for details about: 1: what they read and 2: characters in the story.
For students struggling in math, KhanAcademy.org is a valuable resource that provides tutorials and explanations with hundreds of math concepts for students in Grades PreK-12. Many of the educational websites can be accessed through a tablet or phone, not just a computer.
Another recommendation from the NYSED representatives is to "provide professional development for parents on understanding academic data and to regularly share data and outcomes with families". We have sent or mailed home interim reports for Grade 1-6 students. Children in Grades 1-3 have their DRA scores listed accompanied by a letter of explanation of what their child’s DRA score means. The Pre-K and K children have also been asked to take ownership of their learning by 'staying on task'. Some children always ask their teacher or parents for help without putting effort into their work. There are some students who become distracted easily and forget to finish their task (whether it is a writing assignment at home or in school or cleaning up their toys after playing). "
Taking ownership of learning" means to complete the task by putting effort and persevering without always asking for help.
One area we desperately need assistance to help our school become great is with is our PTA. For programs, assemblies and fundraising efforts to work efficiently we need parents who are willing to take charge of key pro-grams; a monthly attendance and other certificates writer, a bilingual connect-ed messages speaker, an assemblies coordinator, an end of year celebration organizer, and a spring flea market coordinator. Please contact Dr. Beglane if you would like to be in charge of any of the titles listed and help
take ownership of the PTA.
We will continue to share data with parents and work collaboratively to enhance student growth. If you have any suggestions on ways to improve our school community or have any questions, please let Dr. Beglane know. We thank you for your ongoing support of Thomas Cornell Academy as we continue on the journey together to help our students become proficient school citizens and scholars.