Archive for March, 2012

DCAS “window” opens next week!

March 9, 2012 7 comments

DCAS is here again, for Red Clay at least. I’m not sure about other districts so please check.

According to the Red Clay District Calendar, the “DCAS Window” opens next week on Monday March 12, and stays open until June 1! (I think that June end date must be a goof – it probably ends before then).

That means your child’s DCAS tests could happen ANY DAY beginning Monday!

I just checked my child’s online school calendar and it still says “Check with your school for exact date.” Last fall the day of the DCAS tests was a surprise to us.

So check your individual school calendar, website, and any printed material for clues on when your child’s DCAS tests are. If you can’t find anything, call the school NOW for your child’s DCAS testing dates!

Take the Red Clay Parental Involvement Survey

March 9, 2012 Comments off

Here are the questions for the Red Clay Parental Involvement Survey. Post your answers, opinions, and elaborations in the comments section! Many of these questions deserve their own post… hmmm…

Disclaimer: In case it is not obvious, this is not the survey. This is just an online forum for discussing the survey questions. To submit the actual survey you have to bubble in the answers on the form you received in the mail, and send it to Red Clay.

My child’s school…
1. … informs parents and students about helpful community resources and/or opportunities
2. … provides volunteer opportunities to parents, businesses, and organizations.
3. … schedules events for parent audiences at a variety of times to accommodate the availability of all parents.
4. … holds meetings and/or workshops or parents of children in special programs, as appropriate. Examples: Title I, Special Education, 504 Plan, ESL/Bilingual Education.
5. … communicates effectively in a variety of ways addressing the diverse social, language, and cultural differences. Examples: telephone, e-mail, written notes, newsletters.
6. … has resources and school staff available to assist and work with parents. Examples: parent workshops, websites.
7. … provides opportunities for parents to understand student achievement. Examples: student grades, DCAS scores, academic progress.
8. … maintains current and relevant information on its website(s).
9. … uses the Alert Now phone messaging system to provide timely and important information.

As a parent I…
10. … have used the Home Access Center website to check my child’s grades, e-mail teachers, etc. Grades 4-12.
11. … have an opportunity to provide feedback to my child’s school policies, practices, programs, and performance. Examples: school dances, drop off and dismissals, PTA scheduling, homework notification, parent rights, achievement, discipline.
12. … know whom to contact in order to serve on school or district planning groups.
13. … have an opportunity to contribute to the School Success Plan. (Formerly School Improvement Plan) *School Success Plans use student performance on DCAS to develop academic improvement strategies.
14. … understand the process for contacting and/or scheduling with the staff at my child’s school. Examples: teacher, counselor, principal, assistant principal.
15. … have been informed of the academic expectations at my child’s school. Examples: homework requirements, strategies for completing homework, grading policy.
16. … am satisfied with technology at my child’s school. Examples: computers, internet access, technology-based learning activities.
17. … am satisfied with the opportunities for parent engagement in my child’s school.
18. … am satisfied with the safety and discipline at my child’s school.
19. … know about the school Parent Involvement Policy and have access to it.
20. … find the Red Clay Family Resource Fair to be informative and helpful (mark n/a if you have not attended).
21. … find the Red Clay this Week cable show informative.

Parent information
22. How many students (PreK – 12th grade) currently live in your home?
23. How many contacts (e.g. phone calls, e-mails, parent-teacher conferences) with your child’s school have you had during this school hear?
24. How many meetings (e.g. PTA, School Success Planning, Academic Enrichment, Parent Forums) have you attended during this school year?
25. How many times ahve you visited your child’s classroom(s) during this school year?
26. At what time of day are you most available for parental involvement activities? (mornings, afternoons, evenings)
27. Which, if any, of the following prevent(s) you from participating in parental involvement activities? (Work schedule, Transportation, Childcare, Language/culture barriers, Unaware of activities offered, Other)
28. (which school does your child attend)
29. (your child’s grade)

Comments and suggestions
30. Please share any comments you have regarding parent involvement at your child’s school or provide suggestions for improving parent involvement.

Red Clay Consolidated School District (answer from 0-5, with 0 = N/A, 1 = Disagree and 5 = Agree).
31. … effectively communicates its mission and vision, and its success plan.
32. … communicates effectively across social, language, and cultural differences.
33. … communicates with parents in a variety of ways.
34. … maintains current and relevant information on its website.
35. … provides current and relevant information in its E-News.
36. … provides appropriate opportunities for parent involvement.
37. … uses the Alert Now phone messaging system to provide timely and important information.

Disclaimer: In case it is not obvious, this is not the survey. This is just an online forum for discussing the survey questions. To submit the actual survey you have to bubble in the answers on the form you received in the mail, and send it to Red Clay.

Red Clay parent survey hits the mailboxes

March 9, 2012 1 comment

The 2011-2012 Parent Involvement Survey is out (click here for full pdf). It comes with a return envelope and is due March 23.

Teacher dashboards due this month

March 4, 2012 1 comment

Teacher Dashboards were to have been completed by August 2011, but were delayed to March 2012. Now March is here.

So teachers, it is time to start asking your data coach about dashboards. Because after all, the Teacher Dashboards show the data you are supposed to be talking about in your PLCs. I wrote about these dashboards and their origins earlier.

Here’s a screenshot from an early prototype of the Teacher Dashboard, which appears to be still the most current available:

Want to see more? Click one of these:

Elementary Student Interim Dashboard Snapshots
High School Student Interim Dashboard Snapshots
Classroom Interim Dashboard Snapshots

If you want to peek at even more, including the detail screens and the underlying metrics, you’ll have to go to the metrics site (or click on the image below) and drill down through the navigation tree on the right. I’ll follow up with a post later walking through the metrics and the detail views.

Bullying: not every problem can be solved by a new law

March 3, 2012 2 comments

Attorney General Beau Biden and Lieutenant Governor Matt Denn are looking into why schools are reporting such low numbers of bullying incidents, proposing audits to see if schools are fudging the numbers.

The problem with reports is they rely on the bullied student to report the incident to the school or to the parents. Mystery solved.

Back in the day, there was no such thing as a bullying report. Bullying prevention happened when your Dad took you out in the back yard and taught you how to fight. Verbal abuse wasn’t considered bullying at all. But times have changed.

If you want accurate bullying reports, the grown-ups have to spot the incidents in progress and generate the incident report pro-actively, instead of just sitting around waiting for a fearful or embarrassed student to walk into the principal’s office, or an angry phone call from a parent. The walk-in or the phone call may never come – which is what the bullies are counting on.

Here, in no particular order, are some ideas:

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