At the PTO meeting last Thursday, I presented the School Improvement Plan (SIP) goals for 2014-15. Every public school is required to write a SIP each year based on the previous year's test scores and, in the case of charter schools, the purpose of the school. Our goals relate to improvement in math and English language arts (reading and writing), participation in the arts, and improvement in attendance. You will be able to see all of our plan as soon as it is approved by the district.
You should have received an email Friday regarding attendance. (A copy is included with this week's information packet.) We want students to be present because we know there is a positive relationship between attendance and achievement. We also know we have to provide a school environment where students want to be present. That's not always easy. Students and parents are an integral part of the solution. Please read the attendance policy carefully. We certainly want students to stay home if they are sick, but otherwise we want them here.
Two goals were directed towards increasing math proficiency. Previous letters referred to academic perseverance - students should be able to make sense of a problem and persevere through the task. To do this, they need enough basic knowledge to be able to figure out what the question is asking and what the best way of solving is. This involves reading, math facts, and thinking strategies. Knowing math facts is absolutely necessary and that comes through drill. The concepts are important but fluency in math is critical. Look at this chart that shows the minimum facts they should know and when:
Kindergarten - add/subtract within 5
1st grade - add/subtract within 10
2nd grade - add/subtract within 20 and using paper and pencil, add/subtract within 100
3rd grade - multiply/divide within 100 and add/subtract within 1000
4th grade - add/subtract within 1,000,000
5th grade - multi-digit multiplication
6th grade - multi-digit division and multi-digit decimal operations
In 7th and 8th grade they need to be able to apply these basic operations to solving equations.
We have added intensive math classes to support intervention and the teachers incorporate more intervention within the classroom. This ties back to the attendance. Teachers instruct and help students practice the "hard stuff" in the classroom, then the students have homework to reinforce. If they aren't present for the instruction, the homework is harder. Finally, it all ties to reading - if a student cannot read and understand the question, the math problem seems impossible to them. This is why we say read at least 20 minutes per night and practice those math facts. Everything and everyone must work together to reach success. Thank you so much for entrusting your children to us and for supporting them - and the SAA staff - as you do.
As a reminder - 5th through 8th grade concerts are tomorrow (Monday) night at Glenridge Performing Arts Center. Times and directions were sent home last week. Thursday, some of the middle school students will be leaving for their fall trip. There will be classes for those students not going on the trip. Friday is a professional work day for teachers so there will be no classes. The Chile's restaurant fundraiser is Tuesday night; coupons were sent home. finally, remember to send in those box tops.
Have a great week!