24 November 2008

Holidays and Conferences

  • I just spent 3 days off line. There's something to be said for that, although I'm having fun catching up with all of you friends-in-the-computer.
  • We stopped at the National Bottle Museum. I love quirky museums, and I love Politica, who stopped to park even before I'd finished my "It's open!" sentence as we drove by. And Curious Girl clapped when I said we were going into the bottle museum, and wondered whether she should bring in the blue water bottle she'd been drinking from.
  • Curious Girl's first report card came home last week. We have a teacher conference in the morning. I'm looking forward to it: kindergarten is clearly going well for her, and her teacher seems to have connected with CG quite well. I'm curious to hear a bit more about CG's social habits in class, and I have a few questions about how persistent she is with challenging tasks at school.
  • I like CG's school quite a bit. But the report card? Spectacularly uninformative in some key ways. The scale refers back to the state standards, for several reasons, including that "A standards-based report card gives "parents a clear understanding of what their children know, what they are able to do, and what they need to learn in relation to the standards." So the scale on the report card is "Exceeds/meets/nearly meets/fails to meet standards and then "little evidence." Problems here include:
    • "little evidence" is not actually on the same scale of exceeding-to-not-meeting any given standard. There might well be little evidence of a student meeting a particular standard; little evidence sounds like a comment about what there is to evaluate, not an actual evaluation.
    • the report card does not actually point us to anywhere where the actual standards are explained. I remembered that there is an explanation of the report card on the school website, but the explanation there focuses on the transistion from the old (2 years ago) format of report cards. I had to google the state standards.
    • the school website does gloss the scale, though, and says that "little evidence" means that "Student's achievement shows little evidence of meeting grade level standards."
    • When your kid "meets the standard" in October, does that mean she has met the (end-of-grade) standard? Or that she meets the where-we-think-we-are-with-this-standard-in-October-standard?
    • CG "exceeds" the standard in music performance. (Yay! I got a 5! she said as we looked at the report card together. She has no clue what the numbers actually mean but clearly has solidly grasped the notion that 5s are bigger than 4s, and at the moment, bigger is better in her book.) On the state standards site, the document I found about arts standards says that there aren't kindergarten level music standards.
    • All of this is more philosophically troubling me to me than parentally troubling: CG is having a fine time in kindergarten, and we already knew that this is totally the right time for her to be in kindergarten. (Anyone reading here who's obsessing about whether to repeat a year of pre-K: do it. CG wasn't ready for kindergarten a year ago, and she is in totally the right place now. I could have obsessed about something else during her first year of pre-K. It was such the right call.) So it's not like I have serious questions about what's going on in kindergarten. She's learning to read, she's loving math, she's quizzing us on what are living and non-living things (the subject of the science unit this fall). She likes school, and she's making friends. That's pretty much my idea of good kindergarten outcomes right there.
  • I really need to come up with a good Thanksgiving entree. But not tonight. Magpie suggested a potato pie, but I am hoping for something with protein (to go along with the turnips braised with maple syrup, and turkey and traditional trimmings my sister will prepare). I'll make bread or rolls of some sort. But what protein? Time to get decisive.
  • Except it's time to go to bed. So decisions will have to wait until tomorrow. But comments on non-turkey Thanksgiving options are welcomed!


Jody said...

Our report cards are uninformative for a slightly different set of reasons (mostly having to do with the distinction between "meets" and "exceeds" expectations -- and yes, what are the expectations in the first place), and then this year, the district told the teachers to give fewer "exceeds" marks. We also had a neighbor whose daughter received 3/4 marks all last year, but who was then advised at the end of the year to repeat the grade -- because the expectations for her were "A" but "A" correlated with repeating the grade. It was more or less entirely crazy-making for the parents.

I have no ideas on the entree. Sorry.

Magpie said...

Interesting to read your kindergarten dissertation. We haven't gotten a report card, but our first parent-teacher conference is tomorrow.

Songbird said...

I'm pretty sure they mean "where we are at this point in the year." Been there, done that. Very frustrating.

elswhere said...

For a non-meat protein entree, RW likes to make Arabian Squash Casserole. It's in one of the Moosewood cookbooks, but if you can't find it let me know & I'll send recipe. It's pretty good!

My sympathies on the report card. I've now received report cards for MG from two different school systems, and also written report cards under a third system, and they're all mystifying in their own special ways. Truth is, the part I mainly care about is the comments.

chichimama said...

Three sisters Stew? Also Moosewood.

Glad kindergarten is going well. Amazing how a report card can say so little, isn't it?

jo(e) said...

I can't get past the idea of a bottle museum. What was in it? Bottles? just bottles?

Angry Pregnant Lawyer said...

I love quirky museums, and I love Politica, who stopped to park even before I'd finished my "It's open!" sentence as we drove by.

You two seriously crack me up.

liz said...

What APL said.

Rev Dr Mom said...

Like Songbird, I'm pretty sure the "meeting standards" is based on where they should be at this point in the year.

In some ways I wish I'd had the Kid repeat preK. He started K young, and while he was very ready in some ways, I wonder if some things might have gone better had he waited a year. But the preK teacher convinced me that he'd be too bored. Ah, hind sight...

kathy a. said...

have a good thanksgiving!

Arwen said...

That's good to know about pre-K. Ripley needed the challenge and the routine, but I think Tate's more laid back and might do well with more time.

My step-brother is 15 and lives in Georgia, and it seems to me like the system down there for moving on or staying behind is frustrating to understand for everyone involved.

I mainly read the comments, too.