From the Director's Chair
The turn of a new year is often thought of as a chance to reflect upon the past, express gratitude for the present, and consider possibilities for a brighter future. Here in Lower School we are deeply engaged in that process in a number of ways.
One area of deep reflection for the Lower School at this time is related to reports. Second quarter reports are now available on the HUB for families to review. This report is a brief checklist and notes progress in skills. There are four different abbreviations used on the checklist: A (Always), O (Often), S (Sometimes) and R (Rarely). Always and Often indicate consistency, while Sometimes and Rarely are used when a child is still practicing or is in need of teacher support. These abbreviations are used throughout the Lower School. Comments are written only when an explanation is deemed to be necessary. The third quarter report will resemble that of the first, and the final report will be similar to this most recent one.
As we continue to strive towards the best means for sharing student progress and areas of development, the Lower School Reports committee will be meeting in the coming months to review possible formats for a report framework that can show a child’s development over the quarter, year and duration of their learning in Lower School. We will be looking to develop a comprehensive document that shares individual student strengths, areas in need of development, and that helps to articulate the wonderful and unique characteristics of the whole child. We aim to have these reports detail this information while also providing context for developmental milestones and grade-level benchmarks.
This comprehensive review and development of an outstanding report framework would not be complete without your input and feedback, however. Please keep an eye out early this spring for registration to attend one of a number of parent roundtables where you can share your thoughts and hopes for the new reports. We will hold these discussions at different times of the day so as to make the opportunity accessible to a range of families, and are looking into the possibility of a video conference call should it prove difficult for some individuals to join us on campus.
In addition to this reflection, I would like to take a moment to express gratitude for the deep and thoughtful feedback that has been shared with me in the past months through individual and grade-level parent meetings. I value this candid insight and encourage you to continue to share both praise for our teachers and programs, as well as critical feedback so that we can continue to grow our program and create outstanding learning experiences for your child or children, as well as the overall experience for your family as part of the Penn Charter community. I encourage you to reach out to me directly via email or phone, to attend one of the grade-level meetings this spring, or to share your thoughts with class chairs who can then bring these ideas to my attention.
Finally, I would like to share some ways that we are planning for an even brighter future for the Lower School. We have been meeting with parents to discuss strategies for supporting families and providing information about digital devices and web safety. This conversation will be continued with Wilson Felter, director of Middle School, and his faculty at a meeting in the coming weeks. Dan Stahl, the Lower School technology coordinator, has been engaging in these topics with students during class, and is in the process of developing an online toolbox for families. These resources will include guides on various apps, privacy settings, and other strategies to keep students safe online, including some sample family contracts that can be used as guidelines. We are also working on a parent session to be held one morning and evening later this spring to explore this in more detail.
I leave you with two brief reminders as we move through these last weeks of winter. First, please note that morning drop off begins at 7:30 a.m. There is no adult supervision available prior to this time so we ask that you do not drop students off earlier than this start time.
Also, we value movement and outdoor play as a critical part of a healthy childhood, and will often bring students out despite the colder weather. Please make sure that your child comes to school prepared with a warm coat, gloves and a hat so that he or she can stay comfortable while playing outdoors.
I look forward to our continued work together, and hope that 2018 brings you opportunities for reflection, gratitude and hope!
Thank you to the many students and families who worked together to create a productive and fulfilling Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. More photos.
And, in case you missed the photos, or just want to enjoy them again, here are photos of our talented and adorable Lower School students performing at the Winter Concert.
Coming Up in Lower School
Wednesday, Feb. 14: Valentine's Day Bake Sale
Thursday, Feb. 15: Breakfast with Your Child, 7:30-8 a.m., Dining Hall
Friday, Feb. 16: Faculty in-service, no classes, pre-K to 12
Thursday, Feb. 22: Lower School Enrichment ends