Grades and Comments about Student Progress
By the time this bulletin is published, “report cards” will have been posted online. We take this process so seriously that we have formed a committee to do research on reports, reporting processes and assessment of student learning. This is a long-term volunteer committee, one that will guide us towards a reporting philosophy and format—and there are literally thousands out there—that more accurately depict performance, progress and product.
Our current report process happens far more often than every quarter when a quarter grade is assigned. Grades and, more importantly, comments are posted throughout the quarter. Parents are encouraged to have an ongoing dialog with their child about their learning, not just about the grades.
If you have any questions about a grade earned, the first person you should speak with is your child. They know best how much effort has been applied, how much knowledge has been gained. If you both have further questions, please feel free to contact the teacher directly.
Professional Development for Faculty
You may or may not know that our entire faculty participates in ongoing professional development. This happens throughout the year and is the norm rather than the exception. We have brought experts in the fields of reading, differentiation, leadership, internet safety, and many more areas here to campus to work with teachers and sometimes parents and students as well. We utilize our in-house experts (our faculty) during meeting times to share tips and strategies. Teachers give up weekends, evenings and vacations to participate in these opportunities. Next week there will be an Advanced Placement workshop here on campus with 23 participants—nine of them will be our faculty.
Last week, several of us attended The European League for Middle Level Education (ELMLE) conference that was held, this year, in Amsterdam. ELMLE is a recognized affiliate of the National Middle School Association, an organization that provides support and guidance for Middle Schools around the world. ELMLE celebrated their 25th anniversary this year with our own Jenna Nelson, Grade 7 science, serving as President of the organization. We have a long history of involvement spanning 25 years. We have been represented by former steering committee member Chris Decker, our Grade 5 Science teacher, and will soon be represented by Emily Bridgham our Grade 7 Language Arts teacher. We have all brought back to ASH information to use and share on IT, Mindfulness for Students and Staff, Sex Education curriculum, and a host of other topics.
The highlight for me was our grade 6 Choir, led By Lori Wagner and accompanied by David Jimenez, who opened the conference by performing two songs. Throughout the conference I had people stopping me to say they were so impressed by the choir’s performance. We couldn’t have done this without parent helpers who rode on the bus with us, drove students in their van, and cheered us on throughout. Attached to this article is one of the pictures taken by a parent on her iphone.
S.E.M.: School-wide Enrichment Model
I just want to direct your attention to an article (MS Enrichment Update), written by our SEM Coordinator, Ms. Serene Bushey. Serene works with our students and staff to provide enrichment activities. She has posted an online interview of a grade six student who explains what she has done and how it has furthered her learning. Enjoy!
This is the time of the year when families start finding out if they will be staying here at ASH in The Netherlands or moving on. When I first started teaching abroad 28 years ago, moving somewhere virtually meant we might never see or hear from each other again except via booked trunk phone calls or flimsy blue airmail envelope/letters. Moving usually means taking a huge leap into the great unknown. Technology certainly helps transitions go more smoothly.
Here are some tips to put into place right now:
Talk with your children. In the end, it is usually better to share age appropriate information about the options you and your family face.
Support this discussion with information about the potential new location(s).
Contact schools early. I can’t stress how important this is. Many times schools will be full or have waiting lists for the next year in January or February.
Reassure the entire family how easy it can be to keep in touch. Get a video camera or Skype and start using them now, so it will seem natural once you have moved. Keeping in touch always helps the transition.
Keep the school informed. Contact our Counselor, Carla Abrams, and she will help get records sorted out for you. More importantly, she will let the teachers involved know, so they can support your child though the process.
As always, if you have any questions, or comments, please feel free to contact me. And do check the school’s calendar on Inside ASH for upcoming events and meetings.