This is a continuation of yesterday’s post…Parenting 101: Do Your Research
So, after sending my email to the Principal this was the response that I received:
Hi Ms. T,
I did speak with Ms. V. regarding this assignment…
In response to your last questions first, yes, School Max is the vehicle for parents to monitor grades and student work. I know that all the English Language Arts teachers grade and send home student work as regularly as possible. If I understand, you have not yet received the 3/4/16 assignment that Munch received a zero for? I was told it was sent home on Friday?
In terms of the zero, I am of the understanding that Munch’s answer to this writing prompt was not simply illegible, but filled with letters strung together as nonsensical words. As Munch is both new to ELA instruction and to the writing process, our RELA teachers dedicate an inordinate amount of time to model, provide examples, key phrases and words to be used in the writing prompt. They do it through the visualizer/document camera, with anchor charts, and through meeting one on one with students to support their writing development. As you have stated, the fact that Munch missed all the “clues” from Ms. O’s support is of greater concern to me as an educator.
Thank you for taking time to review the grading and reporting procedures for elementary students. If you will look a bit further at section i on page 4, the policy discusses when a student can receive a failing grade on an assignment, quiz or test: “when a student fails to complete the work within an assigned time frame.” If we allow Munch to make up or extend his time frame on this writing prompt, then we would have to do so for all students. I also noticed that it was counted as a homework assignment, which means it is weighted as 15% of his grade. After grading an assignment, should the teacher decide that he or she does not want to include it as part of a student’s permanent record, then I believe they have that discretion. Sometimes students do worse than a teacher would like on an assignment, and if the teacher feels the assignment was poorly worded or framed, or does not fairly assess the concept they have taught, it is possible that all students misunderstand the assessment and do poorly. The end result is that each teacher has the right to use or not use an assignment.
Finally, while you are correct in stating that the district’s policy calls for the teacher to enter two grades per week per category, please be reminded that Munch receives grades in both French Written and Oral Communication and English Written and Oral communication, so in essence he is getting the requisite number of grades as outlined in this policy. As always, immersion schools do not fit the profile for the district as a whole.
I hope I was able to answer all your questions.
So, should I have been hot? I was fuming and let me tell you the four reasons why I was hot:
Reason #1: The Principal was supposed to be unbiased. I am all for educators supporting their staff but aren’t you the same ones that say parents don’t show up for conferences or back to school night? Not me. I’m everywhere. All the time. I have a minimum of 5 parent/teacher conferences throughout the school year. This response was not an unbiased response to a parent’s concern. She decided to formulate an opinion without talking to me or suggesting a meeting to discuss.
Reason #2: You are trying to analyze my son’s work on assignment that you hadn’t seen. Who does that? If I told you what someone did wouldn’t you want to see the assignment or do we regularly analyze a child’s learning site unseen? Umm, I was offended.
Reason #3: Your condescending and elitist attitude. I never once asked for my son to receive special treatment. I simply stated the policy and asked do educators always give zeroes to children when the definition of attempt means to try at the second grade level? If he put his name on the dang paper by definition he attempted the assignment. How are you trying to deny the rules and disregard them that are set-up to protect the teachers, students and parents? His classwork is sent home a month after it is done. When is 30 days timely?
Reason #4: Your disregard for the policy as outlined by the district and you trying to tell me that the teacher can give a zero which it says the reasons must be extreme and then justify that they don’t have to count the homework that he did. This is not true. We are not going to set my son up for failure. Point blank period. Furthermore, I’m not going to allow your teachers or you to disregard the policy. We can take this to the school board.
I wasn’t going to go quietly in the night and have her think that her answers were acceptable. Do you agree with my concerns?