The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

December 6, 2017 - 5 minutes read

In addition to planning and preparing classroom lessons, teachers are also working hard writing the first Communicating Student Learning (CSL) documents to be sent home later this month. As we prepare for this snapshot of student progress, growth, and achievement, let’s take a moment to reflect not only on HOW we communicate student learning, but more importantly on WHY we do it.

Student learning is communicated in a number of different ways over the course of the school year. At Cypress Park we have 3 formal written reports sent home in December, March, and June, and 2 parent / teacher / student conferences. This year we experimented with a goal-setting conference in late October. Student and parents met together with the teacher to discuss student progress to date and to establish a personalized working goal for each student. Our 2nd learning conference will be held in the Spring. In addition to these formalized reporting opportunities, teachers communicate student learning in many other ways. One of the most significant changes this year at Cypress Park has been moving our IB Portfolios online. Now embedded within FreshGrade, parents are able to see student reflections on learning (through our 6 transdisciplinary themes) as they happen. The purpose of these reflections is to build student self-assessment by having students reflect and think about how they are applying the 5 Essential Elements of the PYP, such as (Traits, Attitudes, and Approaches to Learning). In our recent Parent Communication Survey, 100% of respondents said they enjoy the updates they receive on FreshGrade. And of course, there are always emails and the conversations that happen throughout the year as we touch base informally at drop off and pick up.

The BC Ministry of Education highlights the importance of effective communication between home and school:

First and foremost, the why behind communicating student learning is to celebrate student success. There is no greater joy than reading through a CSL document with your child and embracing their achievements.

The purpose of our CSL documents is to describe student progress, growth, and achievements in learning. They not only outline what students are able to do, they also identify areas of continued growth and development. This encourages students to be self-reflective and develop an awareness of how they learn best.

One of the most effective ways to make learning meaningful to students and parents is to document and share their learning over time. After all, learning is an ongoing and continuous process. FreshGrade allows teachers to share what students are learning and provides authentic examples of how they are applying their learning in real time. Each child is unique and our goal is to make learning visible and personal for each student.

Teachers spend countless hours, in addition to their regular teaching responsibilities to ensure that parents have an accurate and accessible window into their child’s learning. Here are a few tips to consider when reading your CSL document:
– read all parts of the document thoroughly
– don’t get hung up on “level of support” descriptors. Remember this is where your child is currently at with their learning, and that learning is an ongoing, continuous process.
– ask your child questions about some of the specific learning engagements identified (refer to this FreshGrade handout for some great conversation starter prompts)
– consider ways you can help support your child’s learning through the Supporting Student Learning section

And remember, above all else, take a moment to celebrate your child’s successes with them. Learning is a journey that takes patience and time.

If you have not had a chance yet, please take a moment to complete our Parent Communication Survey.