Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Back To School Night

My wife elected me to attend the Back to School Night at our daughter Kunsal's elementary school.  She is just entering Grade I, and it is impressive as how much is taking place in terms of her learning and the people involved in it.

All parents have come to hear and see what their kids have been doing.  At the beginning of the 30 minutes session, the Principal of the school gave a speech on the school budget and urging parents to speak out to state representatives for full funding of the school.  She gave an overview of how the school is operating financially, a breakdown on the funding allocation and so on.

The gist of the presentation urges parents to take active role in helping the school to run smoothly through every possible help.  The school has grown exponentially in enrollment, and the funding has not increased proportionately. The contrast and comparison drawn between different public school and FCPS, where FCPS is lacking behind in teacher's salary competitiveness, and the school renovation.  So hearing all those details of the school, make us feel, that the school really needs some big funding and renovation.  As the school building structures are running well hehind the projected renovation time.

The teacher's introductory presentation was very well thought out. She has a master's degree plus teaching certification. She has years of experience in teaching and plus teaching to students with disability. 

She started out by sharing her educational philosophy.  She believes in :

A balance between academic rigor and social-emotional development. Maximizing small-group instruction to make sure each child's individual needs are being met.  Integrating thematic units and real-life application of concepts. Instilling a sense of independence and a love for learning in every  student. The power of family involvement in a student's academic growth and success.

Those are very well articulated objectives and goals of  her teaching. The importance of parents involvement in student success is clearly underscored in her presentation. And we are given a sense of how and when the involvement and support are called forth and the golden rule of it is to be consistent in helpings kids learn.

I liked it very much, when the teacher said that memorization or rote learning is not the best way. She emphasis on the question of why, and how do you know ? That help the student to really get a good understanding of the concept and reasoning skill.   That is absolutely important.

Later after her presentation, I raised my concern with the teacher on Kunsal's poor spelling, which I noticed on some of the words, she has written on her notebook at the desk.  But the teacher wisely advised for a grade I, she would not nag on writing the spelling correctly, rather she would let them sound out the words, and only at grade II, they will start to spell more correctly.

 What is important is for them to sound out the word they like to say, rather than the technical spelling. It made sense to me.

NO Packing Nuts of Lunch.

The class has two students with nuts allergy, so the teacher strictly forbidden anyone from bring nuts to class room.

Home Work.

From next week onward, the teacher will send homework every week and we are required to help the child in completing and returning the home works.

Besides learning sight words, and spending no more than 10 minutes each night in completing work and reading to our sons and daughters..

The teacher is open to any  communication on matters concerning the students learning.  

Overall, attending the meeting was a great gateway to knowing our daughter's class room, the teacher, what she is doing in class.  

I was delighted to see that my daughter Kunsal has a left a note on her desk, saying thanking Mom and baby for coming to class, it was really sweet  And I too left her a note, appreciating her work and how much she means to us.
  By the end of the day, we are fully informed on the roles that our parents can play in educating our child, and felt good being a part of her overall growth .
When I returned home eagerlyh with a handful of informations to share, and my wife and kids went to bed, pretty early around 8:00pm, but that was good, so they can get up early next morning for school...


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