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Sunday, February 23, 2014

Letter to Parents of School-Age Kids with Test-Taking Anxiety

Open Letter to Parents of School-Age Kids Regarding Test-Taking Stress,

Assessments are one of the three major components of education and learning. The other two: curriculum and instruction.

Unhealthy Stress Related to Assessments

This student-focused writer is alarmed at increasing concerns of stress in children related to test-taking.  Please help me slow the progression of this and even reverse it.

Our goal and desire is that our students and their families reap benefit from the experience of test-taking.  For example, benefits of assessments include:  show progression of skills learned, accountability, interventions needed or level of effectiveness of interventions, just to name a few. 

Our staff takes the overall accumulative effect of the entire educational experience very seriously. We are saddened and deeply concerned when we learn that students are experiencing unhealthy stress related to assessments.

Our faculty is passionate about emphasizing that students approach testing as a routine part of their learning experience.  Our expectations are simple, straight forward and designed to fortify students with confidence for assessment of their learning.

It's always a good habit for test takers to do their very best on a test of any description and we certainly desire that our students take tests/assessments seriously.  However, we want to speak cautiously and with the right purpose when saying this to children. Too frequently for this writer's student-centered comfort, an unhealthy fear is established that is often difficult to untie once rooted.  This trepidation can lead to an undesired and unhealthy view of learning and school overall. Help us guide your child toward a positive and healthy approach to successful test-taking.

Please join our staff in approaching all testing with these simple requirements below. We purposefully and intentionally DO NOT emphasize, "you must score this or else "this (bad stuff) will happen'".  With positive nurture and calm we communicate the following to our Mustangs:

1. Show what you know.
2. Do your very best.
3. Let it go!

These simple reminders for your child should provide reassurance and confidence for your child. Please contact us if we can help or if you have questions. email: FORDL@LISD.NET; RODGERSS@LISD.NET; CATESJ@LISD.NET; HERKIMERD@LISD.NET; PERRYSR@LISD.NET   or your child's teacher

written by Lynn Ford, M. Ed.

Twitter: @lynnhillford

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Random Acts of Kindness Ongoing Campaign

Homestead Elementary is highlighting Random Acts of Kindness week, Feb 10-16, 2014. This event is organized and lead by our counselor, Mrs. Sally Rodgers. Students attend class with Mrs. Rodgers and work on lessons and activities to learn of the importance of spreading kindness in our world.

Yesterday, I posted on Twitter that my act of kindness was to smile at one extra person daily and I shared this on our school-wide morning announcements. Mrs. Rodgers received a call today from a community member who feels passionate about paying it forward with kindness. It was the donor's wish to pay off any and all negative balances of students at Homestead Elementary who receive a reduced price breakfast and lunch. Many students who receive reduced price meals are still unable to pay for their meals and consistently carry a negative balance.  The children routinely receive a reminder notice with the amount owed, but always receive meals while at school nonetheless.

Within the next few days, each impoverished student who had a negative balance will receive a note that says "Paid in full by a Random Act of Kindness." 

Click here for more info on Random Acts of Kindness