Maria's Blog

March 2021

Dear P.S. 24 Parents and Guardians,

We have reached the midway point of the year and it is so important to be reflective of our accomplishments thus far. I want to personally thank you for the support you have offered your children and the school staff. It has been a very challenging year and many of us have suffered great loss. We have found that in supporting and uplifting each other we can continue to make a difference in the lives of our children and ensuring that they achieve their learning goals.

I would like to share an update on student progress. All students in grades K-5 have completed the mid-year DIBELS Reading assessment in Reading and quarterly progress reports in Math. I am happy to report that we have seen a slight increase in the mean reading score across most grade levels from September to March. However, the growth is not sufficient to move our scores to the grade level proficiency we expect to see as a school. In Math, we have remained at a constant rate of proficiency in comparison to last year’s grades. Please continue to support your children in developing the necessary math skills for their grade.

I have asked teachers to schedule 15-20 minutes of homework each day for students to work on the iRead program in grades K-2, and at least 15-50 minutes in MYON depending on the grade level in grades K-5. IRead is a comprehensive assessment and instructional phonics program that will support the K-2 students in building their phonological awareness. It provides the students with the resources they need to help them succeed in those foundational skills. The assessments determine the on-grade level proficiency of each student based on state and national standards. Assessment results are then used to create a personalized instruction plan for each student so that individuals can work on specific skills that will raise their level of proficiency in reading in K-2. MYON helps support the reading levels of all students. It helps them develop fluency, vocabulary, content knowledge, and comprehension, which are all skills they need to become proficient readers. If your child is in the DUAL program, it is important that they read in both English and Spanish. MYON has books in Spanish too!

Again, thank you for working in partnership with us. While the majority of students and families are working hard to adhere to expectations, we are finding that some reminders are necessary in order for us to continue to further support all the children.

 

Learning Environment

Please be sure that your child has a workspace at home that is conducive to learning. Don’t forget that we are aware of your backgrounds. Anyone who passes by or stands in the camera frame can be seen by all of the children in the class. It is very distracting to see others that are not part of the class community. One suggestion is to arrange your child’s work area so that his/her back is to the wall, eliminating the view of others in the background.

 

Please make sure that everyone is dressed appropriately as if they are going to school and no one is lying down during class time.

 

Please don’t allow your child to have access to a phone or another device on which he or she might be tempted to play during instructional times. This is disruptive to your child’s learning and the learning of his/her classmates.

 

Background noises make it very difficult for a child to concentrate on a lesson. We understand that many of you are juggling several children and your own jobs are making every effort to make it work. If possible, please provide your child with headphones for use when attending live sessions this will reduce the background noise. If you need headphones, please let the teacher know to schedule a pick up. Using headphones minimizes distraction and increases concentration. You may want to consider allowing older children to work in a separate room if you feel they are responsible enough to do so.

 

If your child is in a shared space, be aware of when he/she is unmuting so that you don’t inadvertently share your private conversation, personal business, or language that you wouldn’t typically share with your child’s class.

Cameras on, please!

 

While it is not something that can be required, I am strongly encouraging you to ask your child to leave their device’s camera on during live sessions. It is very difficult for teachers to teach to icons. If they can’t see your child’s face, they cannot gauge levels of understanding and engagement, identify when a student is confused or losing focus, etc. They need to be able to provide appropriate support and cannot do so without seeing a child’s face. They also have no way of knowing if a child is actually present for the lesson when the camera is off.

  

Let them do their own work, even if it’s wrong

While this may seem counterintuitive to parents and caregivers, it is critical to your child’s education in very important ways. The first is that the teacher needs to know what skills your child has secured and which skills still need to be developed. Teachers plan instruction based on the needs of the students. If your child appears to be performing at a level that is higher than his skills would indicate, he/she will not receive the support and instruction necessary to develop those skills. The second reason is that the children are becoming very dependent upon parents/caregivers and are not developing the independence they will need to succeed once they are back in school full time. Teachers are there to teach, support, and help children through difficulties but we need to be able to gauge where the support is needed.

Please do not allow your children to wait for an adult to come home to help them with their classwork as a daily practice. If they were in the building, they would be doing their work independently. This is an important habit to develop. The teachers are there to help the children with independent work, as they would be in the classroom. Schoolwork should be completed at the time it is assigned by the teacher unless otherwise specified. Very often the teachers give the children feedback as they are working so that they can make corrections or

improvements to their work. If this is something you are struggling with please speak with your child’s teacher to make a plan for your child.

Due dates and incomplete assignments

We are committed to being flexible and understand that there are times when your child may not be able to complete an assignment when it is due. The teachers will be giving a grade of zero to any assignments that are not turned in on time. It is reasonable for a child to make up an assignment within a day or so of the due date as long as the teacher has been contacted. The zero is there so that you, your child, and the teacher know that the assignment was not completed. Any grades of zero will be reversed when an assignment is made up. If the work is not made up, the zero will stand. Please do not expect that your child will be able to make up work that is weeks overdue.

You are encouraged to spend a few minutes each day talking with your child about the assignments they complete and the lesson they learn. Use positive language and encourage your children to ask questions.

 

Daily Expectations

All students should be reading on MYON daily. They should take the assessments at the end of each book read.

 

Students in K-2 should be practicing high-frequency words daily. All students are expected to know all the words on the list for their grade by June. Please set time aside daily to go over the words on the list. The students should know how to read and spell the words with automaticity.

 

Math games should be played daily.

MATH K-2: By second grade all students should know their doubles and near doubles, be able to count by 2, 4, 5,10, 100s, add and subtract, know standard measurement (centimeters and inches), place value to 1,000 and work with time and money.

MATH 3-5: Students in grades 3-5 should know the multiplication facts with automaticity, know about fractions, how to multiply and divide, how to interpret data, volume, and area. If you need grade specifics information please visit this website.

We remain committed to working with you and your children to help them learn as much as possible even during these difficult times. We appreciate your efforts and all that you do to help support in the learning. We are here to support you. Please reach out if you need support.

 

Sincerely,

Maria Diaz, Principal