Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Report cards and honor roll

As a child, my parents religiously checked my report cards at the end of each nine weeks. Report cards then were the old-fashioned hand written kind (think “Leave It To Beaver” era). My parents had high expectations when it came to my grades – A’s were expected and B’s were tolerated but anything less was cause for a serious discussion. But when I did manage straight A’s or mostly A’s and one or two B’s, my parents applauded my efforts and life went on. I don’t remember my school recognizing my efforts but I very much remember the look on my dad and mom’s face when I showed them my grades. This recognition was important to me, perhaps too much so in retrospect. Nonetheless I have come to realize in my years as a father, teacher, and principal that recognition matters. Each of us regardless of age wants to be recognized for doing something well. So we have chosen to recognize students who demonstrate academic excellence.

We were pleased to honor our straight-A and honor roll students this week. The following table shows the number of student earning honor roll recognition out of a student body of 640 kids.

4.0 3.5 - 3.99 3.0 - 3.49 Total
6th Grade 19 62 57 138
7th Grade 27 61 50 138
8th Grade 25 41 48 114
Total 71 164 155 390

This is an outstanding record – one which I hope our students will equal or exceed next grading period. But what if your child didn’t make the honor roll? Here are some tips that might help:
1. Set clear, reasonable, and achievable expectations for your child’s grades. “I want you to raise your math grade from a C to a B by winter break.”
2. Make sure your child agrees that the expectation is both reasonable and achievable. A student who has all C’s is probably not going to achieve straight A’s but they might be able to raise the C’s to B’s.
3. Set short-term goals. Help your child set a reasonable goal that you know she can achieve. Then set a new one.
4. Praise progress and effort. If your child is trying, let her know you notice even if she doesn’t meet ALL her goals.
5. Keep an open mind. Be willing to revisit and adjust any goals that seem out of reach. If she can’t reach it, there may be another explanation.

Grades matter but they aren’t the only measure of your child’s success at Taylor. While I am delighted that over 60% of our students made the honor roll, I am equally thrilled when I see our students serving the community, raising funds for worthy causes, and demonstrating good character. And for the record, students do not become honor roll students in isolation. Academic success starts at home with the support of parents, grandparents, siblings, and guardians. By providing a quiet place to study, encouraging reading and checking your child’s agenda every night, you contribute to your child’s success. Thanks!

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