The months of January, February, and March before Spring Break may seem like a long, cold stretch without many days off, but for schools, that time is golden. This period of time offers the longest uninterrupted time in the school year, making it ideal for focused academic time for teachers and students. And at Sherwood Heights Elementary, they are making the most of it.
“Right now, we are really encouraging students and their parents to prioritize good attendance at school, to eat healthy meals, especially breakfast, and to get enough sleep, all of which make for a productive school day,” said Ronda Smith, Sherwood Principal.
Smith is pleased with recent data at her school that Sherwood Spurs are growing academically. Students recently completed i-Ready testing in math and reading. Comparing initial scores in September with January scores indicates that more students are on or above grade level in both math and reading, and the number of students below grade level in the subjects decreased during that time. “We are really happy with our mid-year check data, and we continue to use strategies to help students keep up the progress,” Smith said.
One strategy parents can help with is attending Parent-Teacher Conferences on the evenings of March 7 and 9. Sherwood encourages parents/guardians to make the most of the 20-minute conferences with teachers and to really focus on their child. At conferences, teachers will discuss a student’s i-Ready scores and academic progress, show samples of their work, and talk about their strengths and areas to work on and their social progress. Smith suggests parents ask these questions at conferences:
- What kind of academic progress has my child made since the start of the school year?
- How is my child doing socially and while interacting in the classroom?
- Is there anything I can do at home to help my child’s education?
Another thing parents can emphasize and work on with their child is “soft school skills,” which Smith explains include regular school attendance, active participation in the classroom, following school rules and teacher instructions, and completing and turning in assignments on time. Smith said these skills translate into middle school, high school, and adulthood, helping a child learn organization, time management, and the ability to focus and complete tasks. “Our goal at Sherwood is to help students grow and ultimately become a contributing part of their community.”