17 Jan

Deans’ Message: Affinity/Safe Space Groups in MS

As a community that values diversity, we continually strive to find ways to embrace our differences, learn from each other, recognize our commonalities and celebrate our unique identities.  For middle school students, growing strong into their own identities and feeling at home in our community are important in a special way, as students become more metacognitive and aware of themselves and the wider world around them. This year we are excited to introduce affinity groups and safe spaces, long a positive staple of our US student community, into MS with the guidance of Dr. Mirangela Buggs, our new Director of Equity and Diversity Engagement.

Affinity groups, or safe-space groups, are formed when a community recognizes the need for people to connect around their experiences as members of social identity groups, particularly those from historically marginalized or minority groups with respect to race, ethnicity and culture, religion, gender or sexual orientation.  Affinity/safe space groups can be a vital part of empowering members of minority or marginalized groups in diverse communities. They provide support for emotional well-being and camaraderie around common experiences by giving periodic opportunities for students who have some core common experiences to be together for a short period of time to process and share with each other. People who attend affinity/safe space groups interact with the school community at large almost all of the time; their affinity conversations and connections are relatively infrequent yet offer space for renewal and perspective-taking.

In the winter of 2018, the Middle School will launch two safe-space discussion groups: a Kids of Color affinity group and a Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) safe-space group. The Kids of Color group is for students who have racial minority experiences— students of African descent, Latino/a studies, students of Asian heritage, biracial and multiracial students, etc. The GSA is a space for those who support diversity around gender identity and sexual orientation among middle school students. The discussion groups will meet once a month during lunch and will be facilitated by adults. This winter, Dr. Buggs will lead the Kids of Color group, and Ms. Stott will lead the GSA group with support from Mr. Carrager who also heads up the US GSA and the 7th grade SAGE program.

Student sign-up for affinity groups started the week of January 8th, and we expect to start monthly meetings in February.

04 Dec

Message from the Deans

Managing Planned Absences

Parents planning holiday travel should be aware that the last day before winter break, December 15th, and the first day back, on January 2nd, are filled with important classes and activities for students in all three middle-school grades. We ask parents to make every effort to have their children in school for the entire day on both days.

If your holiday plans have already been made and require that students miss class time before or after the holidays, please contact your child’s dean as soon as possible.  These absences will be “absences without extensions” except in rare circumstances and so require special planning with which your child’s dean can help you. We also ask parents to understand that it is not possible for teachers to recreate classroom experiences, prepare special packets of work, or re-teach lessons missed due to planned absences around the holidays.

We at school recognize that sometimes planned absences must happen — special family gatherings, important sporting competitions, and so on sometimes take precedence in a student’s life — and parents need to make those decisions. However, we ask that you let us know a week in advance of a planned absence by reaching out to your class dean. The process of planning, managing, and catching up after unavoidable absences is more smoothly accomplished when we all work together effectively. An e-mail or phone call from a parent — not the student himself in middle school — will start things off in the right direction.  

When you let us know of your plans, the dean will pass along to the student a “Planned Absence Form” that s/he can use to help note assignments and classwork that need to be completed and will alert the appropriate HomeBase teacher.  The HomeBase teacher will be available to coach the student on how to connect with his or her teachers and create a schedule for making up work — getting as much done before the absence as possible and making specific arrangements for work to be submitted electronically or upon the student’s return. If extensions are permitted, the HomeBase teacher can coach a student in how to ask for these. Now that the students are growing older, they are expected to take responsibility, with support from you and the HomeBase teacher, for finding out what they will be missing, asking any questions of the appropriate teachers and managing the completion and timely delivery of assignments and classwork.

Our first objective in creating attendance records and procedures is to ensure students’ safety by keeping track of your children when they are on campus. Our second objective is to try to reduce the burden that playing catch-up after planned absences places on both students and teachers. In middle school, we also want to help students learn how to take increasingly independent responsibility for effectively managing their learning and catch-up workload in the case of absence.  Planning the timing of vacations and absences with the school calendar in mind, reaching out to your class dean a week ahead of a planned absence, and supporting your child in using the “Planned Absence Form” and other strategies for time and task management are ways families can support us in that final objective — and help your youngster use any necessary absences as learning opportunities rather than obstacles to learning.

06 Nov

Deans’ Message: Not Your Parents’ “Report Cards”

In Mid-November, the first written report cards summarizing student progress become available.  But the reports you will receive are not just the old-fashioned list of grades our own parents may have received – and which may still feel familiar to many parents today. Instead, in keeping with our mission to help our students become lifelong learners who take ownership of their learning, D-E “comments” at the midterm of each semester are designed to be an opportunity for students to explore their own process critically, to recognize and cultivate the Student-as-Learner (SaL) traits that we know are critical to lifelong success, and to learn to advocate for themselves with the support of invested and insightful teachers.

Teachers write comments in November to their students to help those students more clearly see their own approach to their work, and to allow students an opportunity to step back from the daily details and take stock.  As they write, teachers have in mind these SaL characteristics that we strive to cultivate, such as creativity, engagement, and daily preparation, in addition to their specific subject content.  Teachers’ comments are released to students during an extended HomeBase (HB) period. HB advisors guide the students in reading and analyzing the comments, with an eye to helping students recognize and celebrate their own successful learning habits as well as set goals for further progress.  Students write reflections about their report cards, discuss their thoughts with their HB teachers, and make notes with questions for their subject-area teachers.  The next day, the comments are released to your parent account. (Please note, to view Comments, you will need to LogIn into MyD-E and click “Report Cards” under your child’s picture on her profile page.)  This is a wonderful opportunity for you to sit down with your child and encourage him to share his thoughts and goals and to support his successful approach to learning and to addressing any challenges.  Written comments are followed by the release of letter grades about a week later (with the exception of 6th grade), and, in all three MS grades, by a parent-teacher conference in December. (You will receive an Email from Mrs. Christoph soon, about how to sign up for conferences using the automated PickATime online system.).

Of course, the written summary comments at the November midterm are not the only feedback students receive. You have likely already seen several pieces of work — sent home for a signature – from your child’s teachers.  These papers, quizzes and projects can give you an idea of your child’s progress and also a sense of the material being addressed in each subject.   This work is also a window into the feedback that teachers give on a regular basis and the coaching your child receives all along the way both in mastering content and in developing strong student skills and effective work habits.  The pieces on which teachers ask for signature are a sampling of work and a way for teachers to encourage students to discuss their progress and approach to work with you throughout the year, not just at report card time.  We hope you enjoy these conversations with your child and feel free to reach out to teachers — or encourage your child to do so – with any questions.

Questions? Please contact us or your child’s HB advisor.

  •  Grade 6 Dean Tasha Urbanowski: urbant@d-e.org
  • Grade 7 Dean Liz Traub: traube@d-e.org
  • Grade 8 Dean James Aitken: aitkej@d-e.org

The first semester’s midterm comments in 2017 will be released for student perusal during HomeBase on Thursday, November 9 and to parents on Friday, November 10.

Grades for 7th and 8th graders become available to students on Wednesday, November 15 and to parents/guardians on the Thursday, November 16.

06 Oct

A Message from the MS Deans

Supporting Students with Homework Completion and the “Missing Homework” E-mail

By this point in the year, many parents may have received a short e-mail from their child saying something like, “Dear Mom and Dad, I did not complete my reading assignment because I thought it was due next week…”  While some students in middle school already have excellent work habits and are masterful time managers, even more are still learning how to manage the demands of multiple assignments from different teachers, various kinds of assignments, and the increased complexity of after-school activities and more independence.

In Middle School, teachers employ many strategies to support students in learning this important skill.  One example is the direct instruction in recording assignments that teachers give every day, in each class, as they ask students to write down their assignments, and when they require that students save work begun in class in specific google folders or other precise locations.  Another example is the time management that teachers model for students when they give interim deadlines for long-term projects – showing students how to break down an assignment and to predict how long certain tasks will take.  The “missing homework” e-mail that all students are asked to write when they do not turn in an assignment on time is another such strategy.

When a student does not turn in an assignment on time, he or she writes a note to his/her parent, teacher, HomeBase advisor and dean.  The purpose of this is not to scold the student but to help him to reflect on what lead to the lapse so that he or she can problem–solve and learn more about his or her own process.  Most students can recognize a glitch in their own systems if they take a moment to write it down, and one or two missing assignments are generally not a cause for concern.  However, if a student seems to be having repeated trouble keeping track of assignments or finishing work, s/he may need help figuring out how to solve a problem.

At school, HomeBase advisors and class deans look at missing homework e-mails to see if it is time to step in and offer assistance to a specific student.  Parents are included on the e-mail so that you may do the same and so that you may reach out to your child’s teachers or dean if you have any concerns.  In this way, we all stay “in the know” and can work together in a timely way to help students move toward skillful task management.  No one wants to wait until report-card time to discover a time- management problem that wasn’t apparent in just one class but that can been seen when you compare the student’s homework record across the subjects – and that can be solved with some timely aid.

If your child has been concerned about writing homework e-mails, please help him or her to understand that this is a tool for self-knowledge and a way for all the caring adults around him or her to have the information we need to help when help is needed.  And then help him or her to problem-solve about how to avoid missing assignments!  Your child’s HomeBase advisor or class dean would be happy to hear from you if you are having this conversation with your child – and you can expect a call from us if we are stepping in to help coach your child on his assignment management.Over the course of their middle school experience, and with

Over the course of their middle school experience, and with teacher and parental guidance, students learn what systems work well for them – pack up the backpack at night or in the morning? Start homework right after school or take a break? etc. – and gain the sort of self-knowledge about their own habits and energy levels that allow them to make smart choices about where, when and how to complete and keep track of all their assignments.  We look forward to each student being entirely independent in managing his or her homework time by the end of middle school – and then no more homework e-mails!

08 Jun

Deans’ Message

Summer Parenting Opportunity: Help Your Child Develop Good Social Media Use Habits

As the end of the school year approaches and students look forward to the change of pace and excitement their summer schedules will bring, they also may be thinking about how to stay in touch with their friends.  Using social media, and connected technology in general, has become second nature to many children today, so it is likely their use of Instagram, twitter, group chats, snapchat, and the rest will increase — with all the pleasures, challenges and pitfalls of living life on line also lying in wait.

Facile as they are in the use of connected technology to communicate, middle school children are still learning to navigate the social environment with grace, integrity, empathy and restraint.  Parents, you are their guides!  The start of summer is an excellent moment to grasp this important parenting opportunity. Take advantage!

Many experts suggest that having a contract with children about their digital use can be an important part of making youngsters safe in the digital world that they so comfortably, and sometimes recklessly, navigate.  If you do not already have one, now is the perfect time to begin thinking about what you would include in such a contract at home. Even if you decide not to have a formal contract, just sitting down as a family to talk about electronic socializing is a great way to open the sort of conversations that help to keep your child safe on-line, help ensure the civility of their on-line communities, and allow you to stay aware and involved in your child’s on-line life. You might want to consider the following:

  • Agreeing that you will have access to your child’s on-line accounts and devices and discussing how you will monitor your child’s activity.  For example, Lauren Hersh, the speaker on social media who visited campus this spring to work with parents, teachers and students, suggested that parents “follow” their children who post on social media sites and discuss with them the interactions displayed there.
  • Encouraging physical activity, outdoor play, and face-to-face interactions.
  • Teaching conventions of respectful interaction directly as you, and they, entertain and interact with friends face-to-face — and then deliberately drawing parallels between on-line interactions and those face-to-face interactions you have modeled and taught.  Kids may not automatically see the connection!
  • Setting limits on screen time and establishing rules about how and when technology can be used.
  • Storing electronic devices in a supervised area outside of the bedroom at night.
  • Opening lines of communication with your children about their experiences using digital technology while paying particular attention to
    • potential anxiety around missing out when not online;
    • pressures to connect digitally with friends;
    • complicated interactions and conflicts and how students should respond.

The following links provide useful resources for your conversations with your child on this topic and recall our recent parent’s association events with Lauren Hersh and the viewing of “Screenagers”:

06 Mar

Deans’ Message: Spring Break & Managing Planned Absences

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Parents planning holiday travel should be aware that the last day before spring break, March 17th, and the first day back, on April 3rd, are filled with important classes and activities for students in all three middle-school grades. We ask parents to make every effort to have their children in school for the entire day on both days.

If your holiday plans have already been made and require that students miss class time before or after the holidays, please contact your child’s dean as soon as possible.  These absences will be “absences without extensions” except in rare circumstances and so require special planning with which your child’s dean can help you. We also ask parents to understand that it is not possible for teachers to recreate classroom experiences, prepare special packets of work, or re-teach lessons missed due to planned absences around the holidays.

We at school recognize that sometimes planned absences must happen — special family gatherings, important sporting competitions and so on sometimes take precedence in a student’s life — and parents need to make those decisions.   However, we ask that you let us know a week in advance of a planned absence by reaching out to your class dean. The process of planning, managing, and catching up after unavoidable absences is more smoothly accomplished when we all work together effectively. An e-mail or phone call from a parent — not the student himself in middle school — will start things off in the right direction.

aWhen you let us know of your plans, the dean will pass along to the student a “Planned Absence Form” that s/he can use to help note assignments and classwork that need to be completed and will alert the appropriate HomeBase teacher.  The HomeBase teacher will be available to coach the student on how to connect with his or her teachers and create a schedule for making up work — getting as much done before the absence as possible and making specific arrangements for work to be submitted electronically or upon the student’s return. If extensions are permitted, the HomeBase teacher can coach a student in how to ask for these. Now that the students are growing older, they are expected to take responsibility, with support from you and the HomeBase teacher, for finding out what they will be missing, asking any questions of the appropriate teachers and managing the completion and timely delivery of assignments and classwork.

Our first objective in creating attendance records and procedures is to ensure students’ safety by keeping track of your children when they are on campus. Our second objective is to try to reduce the burden that playing catch-up after planned absences places on both students and teachers. In middle school, we also want to help students learn how to take increasingly independent responsibility for effectively managing their learning and catch-up workload in the case of absence.  Planning the timing of vacations and absences with the school calendar in mind, reaching out to your class dean a week ahead of a planned absence, and supporting your child in using the “Planned Absence Form” and other strategies for time and task management are ways families can support us in that final objective — and help your youngster use any necessary absences as learning opportunities rather than obstacles to learning.

03 Feb

Dean’s Message

Why Isn’t There an Elected Student Government in Middle School?

Research and experience have shown us that middle school student elections are often popularity contests and usually give just a few students most of the leadership opportunities. In the D-E middle school we want as many students as possible to have an opportunity to lead. We know that our students will be leaders in the world, so we want to help them feel empowered to take action and to help them develop their leadership skills. We look to build the confidence and skills in all the students, not just a select few. To this end we want students to play an active role in shaping their community, to take responsibility for their environment, and to cultivate leadership skills and the habit of stepping up. We want to help them discover things they care about and act for positive change without waiting for someone to elect them to it. We guide them in understanding the logistics of taking action and supporting a cause.

As students move through the middle school, the overall program challenges students to clarify their understanding of ideas and information, and it presents them with experiences that cultivate their ability to articulate their ideas — often a first step in taking a leadership role. Projects such as 8th grade “MaD” (Making a Difference), in which students research a current issue they care about and prepare a persuasive proposal of a solution to a problem, is a good example. In another forum, regular HomeBase activities, such as the recent “Intent vs Impact” discussions, help students reflect on how their daily actions and words impact their community and invite them to act in specific ways out of that new understanding. Other leadership-skills cultivation opportunities are optional, such as the invitation we extend to all students to design and launch a new club during activities period. This last example offers students the experience of working through a protocol in order to realize their idea.

bulldog

There are formal, more active types of leadership, and there are less formal, more everyday types of leadership. At D-E, both types are emphasized and taught through our advisory program, grade meetings and discussions, assembly program and in many other ways as well. While specific formal opportunities vary by grade, they generally increase as students become older, culminating with a rich variety of committee, club, event, curriculum and general planning leadership opportunities in 8th grade. Some of the more formal leadership committees students can act on in middle school include the Arts Council, the Pep Rally Committee, and the Honor Code Committee, to name a few. Students also take a leadership role as Admissions Buddies, Open House Guides, sports team captains, and in the service learning projects coordinated at each grade level.

Student choice and voice is very important to us, and it shows. To be a middle schooler at D-E is to have an active role in shaping your own experience and the experiences of your classmates. Cultivating leadership and nurturing skills and habits of leadership is a thread that runs through everything we do. Opportunities to practice leadership at every level of skill and commitment are available to all because this is a community of future leaders whom we expect to “meet the challenge of a changing world and make it better.”

12 Jan

Deans’ Message: Discipline @ D-E

As a mission-driven school with a clearly articulated set of community values, D-E has certain behavioral expectations for its community members. (For a descriptive list of our D-E community values, click here, go to www.d-e.org/values,  or refer to the MS Handbook 2016-2017 (pgs. 22-37).  In the D-E Middle School, we believe that it is part of the educational process for students to learn how they can live up to those expectations — how they can live our shared values — in the wide variety of situations that naturally come up in these important years.

For many students in middle school, navigating shifting social dynamics and new feelings, handling increased responsibilities and independence, becoming more aware of outside pressures and influences, and just being an adolescent, provide special challenges. Our response to behavioral missteps reflects both our respect for each students’ learning and development and our investment in keeping school a safe, welcoming place for all.

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The HomeBase advisory system, as well as the perennial interest all teachers and staff have in the community and student wellbeing, play important roles.  This week, for example, HomeBase groups are all having structured conversations about “Intent vs. Impact”, i.e. how one can make a comment that is intended one way, but that can unintentionally hurt someone else.  How can students recognize these situations and mind their tone, actions and words with an awareness of how those will strike others? Deans often have found, in the process of conflict mediation between students, that carelessness or social ineptitude have been the cause of a problem between students rather than intention, so this seems an especially worthwhile conversation.

Just as important as formal conversations, assemblies, class meetings or role-playing scenarios, however, are the frequent and ongoing coaching relationships teachers have with students everywhere.  When there is a collaboration glitch in group work, when a question of academic integrity arises around an assignment or test, or when a casual comment in class or on the playground resonates badly, teachers notice, take the time to talk to students, and help them understand how to behave in more respectful, values-driven ways. HomeBase advisors also often take on conflict mediation between students and may initiate larger group conversations or reach out to the school psychologist or dean.  When a student makes a serious error or there is a pattern, deans, Ms. Christoph, and the school psychologist may all be involved, and we also make a point of collaborating and sharing with parents.

sq-communityThis week in Monday Morning Meeting, the three MS deans shared with students the “three pronged response” that deans have in mind when responding to behavioral missteps.  Because specific disciplinary consequences for individual incidents are kept confidential, students have been curious about “what happens” when they know there has been an incident or a problematic pattern. We are proud of our students’ investment in keeping our community a safe and happy place for all, and of how that interest has led to their drafting their own Middle School Honor Code. (To read the MS Honor Code please refer to the MS Handbook 2016 – 2017, pg. 23).  So we were happy to hold up to the light our way of supporting the honor code.

The “three prongs” are, in a nutshell: reflection, reprimand and reparation.  In the reflection step, caring adults, such as the dean or advisor (sometimes in collaboration with a parent) help guide the student to understand what was wrong with the actions the student took and how they impacted others.  This stage can involve meetings with teachers or other students to “unpack” a situation, a dean’s gathering information from a range of sources, and discussions with the student and often culminates in the student writing a reflection or an apology or taking some action to help cement his/her new understanding and plans for future behavior.

The reprimand is a more traditional disciplinary consequence or “punishment.”  It is important that, where a reprimand is called for, it suits the situation, the student and the severity of the infraction.  The goal is to help both the student and the community and to uphold the honor code and respect our school values. This sort of consequence can range from sitting out a single recess period to expulsion and is determined by the dean, principal or headmaster (or a collaboration between any of these) depending upon the situation.

large_photo101610_966968While students, because of their age-appropriate impulsivity and inexperience, do tend to make mistakes, adults are not immune.  As we move through life, it is important to have the skills to reflect, recognize our own errors and to “make them right” to the best of our ability. The final “prong” is to practice that effort to make reparation. Typically, a dean will work with his or her student to design a way to right a situation, although sometimes the gesture of reparation may be assigned. One reparation that comes to mind is the time a group of students wrote all over a wall of one of our campus buildings.  They decided, after reflection and work with a teacher and their dean, that they should repaint the entire wall and make it even more attractive than it was before they had written on it. They followed this resolution with a workday that turned out to be a positive experience for all.

We have great aspirations for the special young people who are our students.  These are described briefly in the D-E “Profile of a Graduate” (click here to view the “Profile of a Graduate” or refer to the MS Handbook 2016-2017, pg. 3).  Our behavioral expectations, the support system of the committed and caring faculty, and the “three prong” disciplinary approach all exist to protect the environment that makes D-E such a great place to spend our every day.  But, just as important, they are designed to help develop in our students those skills and understandings, and the habit of living a reflective life, that will help them to “engage …compassionately in the world” and “…decide wisely and live honestly” after they leave these halls.

13 Dec

A Message from the Deans

ScreenAgers at School

We hope you had the opportunity to enjoy the recent screening of “ScreenAgers : Growing Up in the Digital Age” organized by the D-E Parents Association.  At school, some students (those with room in their schedules) were able to view the entire film on the morning of December 1st  and participated in a discussion with their deans about what they notice about their own technology use and what they found interesting about the film.  During the week of December 5th, the whole Middle School had an assembly about screen-use habits and internet safety lead by expert, Mr. James (Skeeter) Lee.

screenager2

At school, we are finding the conversations about screen use, both with students and among educators here and in the nation in general, very interesting because we feel it is important for young adults, especially, to be critical consumers of material available on the internet and to develop the self control to use technology productively and selectively, rather than allowing it to take over their attention in ways they did not plan.  As one student comically put it, “Sometimes I go on the internet to get the definition of a word quickly, and an hour later I find I am learning how to talk to a giraffe.” In our post-screening discussions with students, the deans were struck by how aware our students are of both the tremendous benefits of using technology and of the dangers of getting “sucked in and off task.”  We heard some students share how they have internalized the messages teachers at school (and the acceptable use contracts all students sign)  deliver about using technology wisely as a “tool for school” and enjoyed them sharing the many ways they have designed to limit their own screen time and help themselves to stay on task.

Most students (as indicated by a show of hands during our discussions) appreciate the limits we have in place at school and those they have at home.  They many not LIKE it, but they know they need help keeping screentime and technology use in its proper place in their lives.  Limits set at home and at school model good screen/tech use for students and help them to develop good habits.  As educators and parents, we know that youngsters at this age are still developing the ability to control their attention and to use good judgment consistently.  As the movie put it, their brains seek stimulation, and the discipline of controlling attention works against that natural impulse.  The practice screen limits gives students in controlling their attention, and the prompting (and sometimes stronger responses such as removing a device for a time or sending a student to talk to his or her dean) teachers give help students to develop a larger sense of when they are off task and can open discussion about strategies for controlling their own choices about technology use.  

Limits we have at school , such as our “no cell phones during the school day,’ “no unauthorized apps,” “the cafeteria is a tech-free zone,” and “no internet use without teacher permission in class” policies (see your child’s acceptable use contract for a more complete list) also help students to “compartmentalize” their screen use and to recognize the difference between using technology to advance their work in school and recreational use.  Keeping devices out of the cafeteria, or limiting the use students make of their devices at school also helps preserve time and practice with face-to-face interactions that are so important for developing the collaborative skills we value. Over time, with consistent reinforcement, that teacher or parent voice that says “come back to task” or “ that’s enough rec use” should become internalized and help our children to be increasingly controlled, deliberate and critical users of technology as they design full, rich lives for themselves that include a wide range of wholesome activities.

07 Nov

A Message from the Deans

Not Your Parents’ “Report Cards”

In Mid-November, the first written report cards summarizing student progress become available.  But the reports you will receive are not just the old-fashioned list of grades our own parents may have received – and which may still feel familiar to many parents today.  Instead, in keeping with our mission to help our students to become lifelong learners who take ownership of their learning, D-E “comments” at the midterm of each semester are designed to be an opportunity for students to explore their own process critically, to recognize and cultivate the student-as-learner characteristics that we know are critical to life-long success, and to learn to advocate for themselves with the support of invested and insightful teachers.

Teachers write comments in November to their students to help those students more clearly see their own approach to their work, and to allow students an opportunity to step back from the daily details and take stock.  As they write, teachers have in mind the student-as-learner characteristics that we strive to cultivate, such as creativity, engagement, and daily preparation, in addition to their specific subject content.  Teachers’ comments are released to students during an extended HomeBase period. HomeBase teachers guide the students in reading and analyzing the comments, with an eye to helping students recognize and celebrate their own successful learning habits as well as set goals for further progress.  Students write reflections about their report cards, discuss their thoughts with their HB teachers and make notes with questions for their subject-area teachers.  The next day, the comments are released to your parent account (sign into “MY DE” and click “Report Cards” under your child’s picture on her profile page.)

This is a wonderful opportunity for you to sit down with your child and encourage him to share his thoughts and goals and to support his successful approach to learning and to addressing any challenges.  Written comments are followed by the release of letter grades about a week later (with the exception of 6th grade), and in all three middle school grades, by a parent-teacher conference in December.

Of course, the written summary comments at the November midterm are not the only feedback students receive. You have likely already seen several pieces of work — sent home for a signature – from your child’s teachers.  These papers, quizzes and projects can give you an idea of your child’s progress and also a sense of the material being addressed in each subject.   This work is also a window into the feedback that teachers give on a regular basis and the coaching your child receives all along the way both in mastering content and in developing strong student skills and effective work habits.  The pieces on which teachers ask for signature are a sampling of work and a way for teachers to encourage students to discuss their progress and approach to work with you throughout the year, not just at report card time.  We hope you enjoy these conversations with your child and feel free to reach out to teachers — or encourage your child to do so – with any questions.

The first semester’s midterm comments in 2016 will be released for student perusal during HomeBase on November 10 and to parents on November 11. Grades for 7th and 8th grade will be available to be reviewed on Monday, November 21, in the morning for students and the evening for parents/guardians.