Newcastle Elementary E-News

December 2, 2019

No School on Conference Days, This Wednesday and Thursday,December 4th and 5th

Principal Ponderings

Hi Newcastle Families!

I recently visited my daughter’s college for an evening concert. Kolby is playing flute in her college orchestra, and the evening’s performance was phenomenal. It was also very educational! For example, did you know that Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 2: Little Russian lasts over 42 minutes? I didn’t either! Did you know one single song could be longer than an entire elementary school concert performance? I didn’t either! Did you realize how long 42 minutes really is? I didn’t either! Well, maybe you were already aware of all those interesting details, but, like I say, it was a night of learning for me!

As the last notes faded into the night, my education was just beginning! Following the concert, I crossed paths with the conductor in the parking lot. He approached me, asking, “You’re Kolby’s father aren’t you?” We then entered into a conversation regarding the orchestra and the fabulous job that Kolby was doing as a flautist. As a parent, it was reassuring to receive this report – even regarding our adult child. Upon returning to the lobby, Kolby rushed up to me… “Were you talking with Dr. Thompson?! What did he say?” When I shared his positive remarks, she was glowing, enthusiastically asking, “Did he really say that?” That moment may have been the highlight of the evening for both Kolby and I.

Clearly, the perspective and input of our teachers is so important to us that it continues to be valued even into adulthood. This week our Newcastle community will have the opportunity to engage in powerful conversations regarding the growth, successes, and challenges being experienced by each one of our young students. These conversations can provide perspective, understanding, and insight into the educational journey of our children, as, just like Kolby and myself, parents and students alike are generally eager to hear what our teachers really have to say!

As you prepare to visit with your child’s teacher, there may be particular areas of interest you would like to visit about, or reflect on during your conference. It can be helpful to consider these topics in advance, so that you can maximize the opportunity presented by the conference. Here are some areas you might find helpful to explore as you prepare for this special time:

Questions Regarding Report Card Content

· Is my child meeting grade-level expectations in each area (particularly reading, writing, and math)?

· Where was my child in relationship to grade-level standards at the beginning of the year?

· What growth has my child made from the beginning of the year until now?

· Are there any areas where my child particularly shines?

· Are there any areas of specific concern?

Questions Regarding Student Work Habits

· Can my child initiate independent learning activities or are additional direction and/or support required?

· Does my child participate well in large and/or small group activities?

Questions Regarding Social Growth

· How does my child interact with others?

· Does my child engage well in the classroom or is too much socializing a concern?

· Is my child’s behavior appropriate during class?

· Does my child tend to lead or follow when engaging with others at school?

Questions Regarding Parent Support and Interactions

· What can I do to support my child’s learning (particularly in reading, writing, and math)?

· What type of ongoing homework or independent work should I anticipate throughout the year?

· Are there ways that I can support my child’s independent work at home?

· Are there any ideas for additional support (interventions or enrichments) that I could seek out and/or provide for my child at home?

· What are the best ways to maintain communication with your teacher in order to support your child’s growth as a learner?

It is our goal to provide you with a parent-teacher conference that is informative and meaningful, providing not only a richer understanding regarding your child’s current performance, but also insight into how you can engage and support your child’s learning throughout the year ahead!

Dr. Tod Wood


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Newcastle Elementary partners with Peachjar, an online bulletin board system, to help families see all the opportunities happening with community partners in the greater ISD community.