Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Are you proud of our school?

It's that time of year where thoughts and opinions of your child's school are bound to come to the surface.  Most schools have had a second round of conferences, standardized scores are now out and we are three quarters through the school year.  Let's face it, the year has either gone well or not so much.

Recently I overheard a conversation between two parents (conversation took place in a restaurant).  It went like this, the gentleman said, "I've been pleased with our child's school.  We chose the school because the test scores were very good."  Then the second parent chimed in, she said, "I hear you, but I really appreciate how our school has a focus on the whole child."  She then added, "Test scores are just a small piece of what a school truly is.  I like seeing the projects and the activities that the students are able to do."  The gentleman intently listened and then I heard one last remark, he said, "You're right; it's funny that I know about our test scores, but I don't know a whole lot more than that."

This was a snapshot of the conversation and honestly...I was eavesdropping as we waited for a table. Some people may say, why didn't you speak up?  Sometimes a valuable lesson can be learned when you simply listen.

Essentially that conversation made me think, it made me reflect.  My own son goes to our school.  I share the role of dad and principal.  Do I feel pride as a parent?  What do I want our school to be known for?

What I believe is that "most" parents are looking for a few "major" things.

1)  Parents want a safe environment for their kids.

2)  Parents want their child to be happy and successful.  This is the whole child.  I believe parents expect their children to learn, but they also want their children to be happy and become better citizens during the entire school experience.

3)  Parents value connections and communication.  What I see is that a partnership works best.  When parents and teachers are on the same page and working together, the outcomes are almost guaranteed to be successful.

When it is all said and done some parents will look very close at test scores.  Some will compare buildings and districts, but the parents that are involved and partnering with the school will look at the whole child.  Test scores won't be the deciding factor.

I guess a better question is this, since test scores reflect 6 days of testing in October, is this more important than the other 174 days throughout the year?

My 2 cents are this, rate a school on the everyday things...Is it safe?  Is it inviting?  Are the students showing growth?  Does the school communicate well?  Do you feel as though you have a partnership with your child's teacher?

To me this is the mark of a good school.

So in the near future you may see news articles about how schools are either succeeding or failing...please don't put all your eggs in the testing basket.  Looking at the school as a whole, is it meeting the needs of your child?

Articles Worth Reading:

Genius Hour: What Kids Can Learn from Failure

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We'll Be Counting Stars

28 Ways To Uncomplicate Your Relationships

Identifying the Best School Stories From the Best School Storytellers

Doughnuts with Dad at Warner Elementary

Videos Worth Watching:

Did You Know...

Merritt Baker at #iCreate

Troy Gilpin at #iCreate