Today was a beautiful October day. The leaves were in their autumnal shades of red, orange and yellow, the sunlight shining down through the trees and a beautiful fresh smell in the air telling us that fall will soon be over and winter is coming.
We’ve already had a particularly busy time this year as Christy and I each have a child graduating from high school. We’ve already been shopping for evening wear for our kids’ Grad events, making Grad photo appointments and the kids have been attending information sessions about universities, requesting letters of reference and preparing their resumes.
When folks with younger children ask, “How do you know what to do to get your child ready for Grad?” the answer is simple: The Grads hear about events and activities at school; but for the parents, we must read the weekly school newsletters (bulletins) and any communication from the Administration. But the newsletter isn’t just for Grade 12: we’ve been reading school weekly bulletins since our children were in Kindergarten, so we’ve come to expect that important information regarding Graduation, plus concerts, sporting events and school services will appear here.
Communicating student learning is a vital part of a successful school experience for you and your child. Home and school communication can consist of many components, depending upon your child’s school. In our Kindergarten we have the following:
- Weekly Ridgeview e-bulletin
- Weekly classroom online newsletters on our Kindergarten website theselfregulatedteacher.com
- Weekly blog posts on our Kindergarten website theselfregulatedteacher.com
- Remind texts from the teacher app
- Informal parent-teacher interviews with your child’s teacher(s) (by appointment)
- Parent-Teacher Conferences with your child’s teacher(s) (scheduled)
- Report cards (three formal reports a year)
- Student-led Conferences (scheduled)
- Open House for Holiday events (impromptu)
- Student work sent home (weekly Alphabet work)
Weekly Ridgeview e-bulletin. Did you know our wonderful office administrative assistant sends a Ridgeview e-bulletin to your email every Thursday? If you’re not receiving this valuable piece of home-school communication, please check with the office to ensure your e-mail address is correct in our system. It’s very important that you read the school newsletter. There is a great deal of information provided to you that we would not necessarily include in our This Week in Our Room online newsletter because it would make our newsletter too long. However, to have the complete picture about what’s going on at school for your Kindergarten child, please ensure you read both newsletters.
Theselfregulatedteacher.com and Remind. We write a weekly newsletter and weekly blog post (most weeks) on our Kindergarten website specifically for our classroom parents so you are informed every week about the fun and exciting things your child is learning at school. One of our goals is to provide you with enough information so you can open discussions with your child about what’s happening in class. Instead of asking your child, “What did you do today?” you can say, “Tell me about how your teacher printed the letter E today,” or “I heard you were making AAB patterns. Let’s make these patterns with some treasures at home.” We also try to include upcoming events and reminders so you know ahead of time what you need to prepare with your child. The Remind texts are simply notes and reminders for you about what we did at school, or what your child might need in the next few days. We’ve made our classroom communication available online so all parents can have equal access at the same time.
Informal interviews with your child’s teacher. In the same way that we make appointments to see our family doctor or dentist, we ask that you contact us to make an appointment to schedule an interview. We really want to talk to you when you ask us for a few minutes as you arrive at the door with your child, but it’s not a good time. We have five minutes, from the time the entry bell rings to when the school starts singing “O Canada,” to welcome each child, gather papers and library books and then settle them into their first routine of the day. If we’re talking to you, then we are not welcoming or supervising the children, who are our priority. Let us know in the morning if you want to get together to chat; send an email, or write a note to ask for an appointment, and we’ll get back to you when we can to arrange a mutually agreeable time.
Five reporting periods per school year. We just finished our Parent-Teacher Conferences this week. It was the second conference following the Parent Intake Conferences (as part of the Kindergarten Gradual Entry) we held in September. Therefore, it’s easy to understand the confusion that these conferences might occur monthly. Rather, these scheduled conferences where we dismiss the entire school early occur once in the school year, in the fall. We have additional interviews by appointment only, typically on an as needed basis which will differ between families.
Schools provide five reporting periods per school year: there are three formal written report cards (at the end of each term); and we have two scheduled informal reporting periods. At Ridgeview the October Parent-Teacher Conference was the first informal reporting session; and Student-Led Conferences, the second informal reporting session, will be held next Spring.
I think it is a great idea to digitize communication between parents and teachers because it can help your child have a more successful school experience. When parent-teacher relationships rely on communication through the child many important details can be lost. It could help parents receive messages more successfully by being able to contact them directly in a situation where they can reply at their convenience.