#12 November 29, 2019

12.  November 29, 2019

Hello Black River Falls community!  This is Dr. Shelly Severson, Superintendent of the SDBRF, and I’m here to share this weeks’ Spotlight on Schools.  This week, as many families and friends gather to talk about all of the things that they are thankful for, I’d like to remind everyone how incredibly grateful we are as a District to have so many fantastic partnerships within our community and so many organizations that reach out in different ways to support our students.  I’m grateful for the opportunity our community provides me to do this work.


Speaking of gratitude, I wanted to share with you a new way that Forrest Street Early Learning Center is reaching out in an attempt to engage the parents of our youngest students in their childs’ learning.  The school year began with a traditional parent/teacher conference, in which the parents meet individually with their childs’ teacher and learned about the routines of school. The second conference, which happened a couple of weeks ago, was a completely different format in which all the students and parents from that classroom come together and meet at one time.  The families get the opportunity to meet each other, the parents get to put faces to the names of the students that their child talks about from school, the teacher models how to play both a math and an english/language arts game, and each family gets to take a copy of that game home so that families can help to reinforce the essential skills that students need to master at that grade level.  Each parent is given a folder with their childs’ information and assessment data in it, and the teacher shares the classroom achievement data. This serves two purposes, this way the parents can immediately see where their child is compared to where the benchmark is, AND they can identify the individual skills that they can help their child master at home.  


There is a strong correlation between a students’ success at school and the parents level of involvement.  We are hoping that by empowering all parents with this information, and by role modeling exactly how they can help their child at home, that our students get the very clear message that home and school have similar expectations, they are high, and everyone is available to help them reach those high expectations!


In talking to some of the families following their first experience with the Family Connections meeting, at first they commented that it was definitely different, they wished there was more of an opportunity to get to talk to the teacher one-on-one, but the benefits outweigh the negatives.  They really liked getting to know the other parents, participating in the academic focused games, and getting to take games home that were specifically focused on their child’s next best steps! The families will have another round of one-on-one conferences in early spring, followed by a final round of the Family Connections meeting as the students have finished up their final assessments of the year.  I’m grateful for the staff at Forrest Street being interested in trying something different, and I’m also grateful that the families were willing to participate!


Speaking of gratitude, one of the things that makes this job as wonderful as it is, is the amazing staff that I get to work with.  I’d like to share some feedback from our most recent family feedback survey. We ask the families if there is anyone within our organization that deserves recognition.  This is what we heard; “I believe most of the teachers deserve special recognition. To try to corral 15-20 different minds with different backgrounds and different family situations and teach them to be productive young adults regardless of how or by whom they are being raised has to be incredibly difficult. To teach each student that they are important and worthy and to show them they can accomplish anything they want if they just apply themselves is a super power and all of the teachers are superheros!”  Ironically, this statement was written last spring, and we just celebrated American Education Week and our theme was, “I Teach, what’s your superpower”?  


Please take a moment this weekend to reflect on some of the things that you are most grateful for!  I saw a cute sign that said, “It’s Thanksgiving, count your blessings instead of calories”! Thanks for all you do to support our kids and let’s show our Tiger Pride in all that we do!


Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2020 Intrado Corporation. All rights reserved.