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Student success is best supported by a teamwork approach between the student, parent(s)/guardian(s), and the teacher. My experience has been that learning is best achieved when the following commitments are made and consistently applied by each. The interactions are synergistic and work best when they are applied by all. Here is a modified version of a letter that I send home with each student at the beginning of the year.
None of these keys to student success cost any money, yet they are extremely powerful and synergistic tools. All they require are time, effort, and a genuine and ongoing commitment to put them into action.
Parent(s)/Guardian(s) At Home
Here are some important ways that the parent(s)/caregiver(s) can support learning at home:
- Your child gets a good night’s sleep. As a general rule, this is about ten hours per night for most children. And yes, I can tell when your child is tired and it does negatively impact their school day.
- Your child eats a healthy breakfast each morning. And yes, once again, poor and/or inadequate nutrition does noticeably impact your child’s learning. Here is a link to some of my favourite healthy recipes which you can try at home.
- You show an active an ongoing interest in your child’s learning and experiences at school. One of the most effective ways of doing is this by involving them in great conversations. This can be facilitated by engaging them with great after-school questions.
- You will let the teacher(s) know about anything that is relevant to your child’s learning (e.g. dietary restrictions, religious or ethical beliefs that will necessitate alternative programming by the teacher, medical conditions and/or medications, anxiety, extenuating family events that may impact your child’s ability to focus, complete assignments, or come to school, etc.).
- Your child has a quiet place to do his/her homework and that he/she does it independently. I will not assign anything for homework that I do not expect students to be able to do themselves (I will let you or your child know if there are any exceptions).
- You contact me if you have any questions, concerns, or good things to say about what is happening in the classroom.
Key Expectations for Students:
- You will try your best
- You will come to school each day and on time
- You will be willing to ask questions, take risks and make mistakes
- You will respect the authority of your teacher and the rules of the classroom and the school
- You will respect yourself, other students, and the community
- You will set personal goals and strive to achieve them
- You will report any situation or action that appears unsafe
- You will do the “right thing” and seek the help of an adult when you cannot deal with a situation safely and effectively by yourself (e.g. in the case of bullying, arguments, strong feelings, etc.)
An Overview of My Commitment (as a teacher) To You and Your Child:
- I will provide a safe learning environment for your child
- I will come to work prepared to teach and on time
- I will understand the strengths and needs of your child and apply my professional knowledge to meet their individual needs
- I will continue to update my knowledge and to continue my own lifelong learning so that I can be a positive role model and enhance my skills as a teacher
- I will strive to be fair and consistent so as to provide a welcoming and positive learning environment
- I will make myself available to you and your child and will establish ongoing dialogue
Another vital factor in student success is the recognition that success looks different for each student. It will not necessarily mean getting straight As in each and every subject all the time. Student success is subjective and goal-driven. The overriding goal in all cases, however, is encouraging and supporting each and every child to challenge themselves, to set goals, and to achieve incremental progress towards becoming the best they can be. It is a dynamic, ongoing, and individual process. In all instances, goals are best defined, supported, and achieved when parents, students, and teachers are working together on a regular and active basis. Work with your children. Work with your teachers.
Author: Jason Milburn Google
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