Parent Night for Hispanic Families

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					Parent Night for Hispanic Families
   Nicasio School: November 18, 2009
     Thank you for taking time out
of your busy schedules to attend
tonight’s event!

• Christy Stocker,
  Principal & 6/7/8 Language Arts Teacher
• Laura Rogers, K/1/2 Teacher
• Elaine Doss, 3/4/5 Teacher
• Colin Williams, 6/7/8 Teacher
• Nancy McInnes, K-8 Spanish Teacher
  & School-Home Translator
     Purpose of Tonight’s Meeting
• To improve communication between school
  and home with our Spanish-speaking parents

• To use communication to provide better
  educational support for our Hispanic students
            Successful Education =
     Partnership between School & Home

• Schools alone cannot provide students with all
  the knowledge and skills they will need to be
• You are already supporting your children in
  many ways, for which we thank you.
• However, we need increased parent
  involvement in our children’s education to
  support their educational goals.
Recipe for Student Success

• Quality Curriculum & Materials
• Experienced & Skilled Teachers
• Individualized Classroom
• Parental Support at Home
   Quality Curriculum & Materials

• Nicasio School ensures that teachers are providing
  classroom instruction with up-to-date California
  State approved curriculum for all required subject
  areas including:
   –   Language Arts (Reading & Writing in English)
   –   Mathematics
   –   Science
   –   Social Studies

• Nicasio School provides books, paper, pens & pencils,
  desks, access to computers, printers and other resources.
     Experienced & Skilled Teachers
• The core classroom teachers at Nicasio School have many
  years of experience working with children of all ages.

• All core teachers hold either a master’s degree or
  advanced certificate or both.

• Nicasio School teachers regularly participate in
  professional development activities to continue their
  own learning and to improve their instructional practices.
 Individualized Classroom Instruction

• Teachers constantly assess student progress in all
  subject areas, identifying each child’s personal
  strengths and weaknesses.
• Teachers regularly modify their instructional
  strategies, techniques and curriculum to support
  each child’s needs. Depending on individual
  needs, students may:
   –   be placed in small learning groups
   –   receive one-on-one support
   –   be partnered with a peer buddy
   –   have modified assignments
Parental Support at Home (1)
• Even if you do not speak English fluently,
  there are still many ways that you can
  support your child in the area of homework.

• Engage your child in conversation about
  school each night. Ask specific questions
  rather than general questions:

   – “Did you have a good day today?” (rather than,
     “How was your day?”)

   – “Tell me one new thing you learned today?”
     (rather than, “What did you learn today?”)
       Parental Support at Home (2)
Establish a regular schedule and routine for homework:
•   Designate a consistent time for homework.
    (Example: right after school, 4:00pm – 5:00pm OR right after dinner, 7:30pm –
•   Ask your child to explain what assignments he/she needs to work on that night
    AND ask about any projects/tests coming up.
    (Middle School students should show you their daily planner and be able to
    point out and describe each assignment listed.)
•   Ensure that your child has a quiet place to study without distractions (no
    access to Internet, TV, music, toys, games, phone, etc.)
•   Monitor your child’s progress in completing homework.
     – Don’t leave your child unattended for the entire homework period; don’t
       assume that he/she will stay focused and on task when unsupervised.
       Check in on your child periodically. Ask to see what he/she has completed.
       Ask him/her to point out which assignments still need to be completed.
     Parental Support at Home (3)
• Praise your child’s effort and progress. This
  improves student motivation when they see that
  other’s value the work they are doing.

• Hold your child accountable for completing
  homework assignments.
     • Develop a reward system for completion.
     • Establish consequences for lack of completion.
          Purpose of Homework

• Homework provides students with opportunities to
  practice concepts and skills they are learning
  at school.

• Time spent learning new ideas at school is not

• Students need to practice these ideas also at home
  in order to master grade-level learning standards.
Homework Anxiety
• Students often have stress and anxiety
  about homework because of the fear of
  making mistakes.

• Students think that making mistakes
  means that they are not smart.

• To protect themselves, students often
  choose not to take risks and avoid
  homework altogether.
         Nicasio School’s Philosophy
            about Homework (1)
• We want students to feel “safe” to take risks.

• Homework is an opportunity to “practice” and,
  therefore, teachers do NOT expect that students’
  assignments will be “perfect”.

• Making mistakes is a normal part of practicing new

• Students are not penalized for making mistakes (having
  wrong answers) on their homework assignments.
          Nicasio School’s Philosophy
             about Homework (2)
• Students earn two separate grades for each subject they study.

• One grade is EFFORT
  Homework is graded on the “effort” a child puts into his/her
  responsibilities as a student, which include:

   –   Homework is complete.
   –   Homework is turned in on time.
   –   Homework is neat and legible.
   –   The student followed directions when completing homework.

• Homework is NOT marked down if there are wrong answers as long
  as the student put forth his/her best effort.
  Effort Grade vs. Academic Grade

• The other grade students receive in each subject area is

• The “Academic” grade includes quizzes, tests and larger
  projects based on grade-level learning standards.

• These activities take place at school, not at home.

• These activities take place AFTER students have had
  many opportunities to practice new ideas at school and
  in their homework.
Homework Expectations:
Grades K/1/2
• Homework will be assigned Monday
  through Thursday nights.
• Reading practice nightly
  (10-20 minutes)
• Math practice nightly
  (10-20 minutes)
• Spelling practice weekly beginning
  mid-year of grade 1
• Unfinished classwork may be sent
  home for completion
            Homework Expectations:
                Grades 3/4/5
• Homework will be assigned Monday through Thursday nights. With
  the exception of reading, homework will not be assigned over the
• Reading practice nightly, including weekends (30 minutes)
• Math practice nightly (10-15 minutes)
• Spelling practice weekly
• Social Studies and Science review for tests as needed
• Unfinished classroom work may be sent home for completion

• Occasional long-term projects will be assigned throughout the
  course of the year
             Homework Expectations:
                Grades 6/7/8 (1)
• Homework will be assigned Monday through Thursday nights.
• Students can expect to spend between 1.5 and 2.0 hours per night on
• With the exception of reading and occasional long-term projects,
  homework will not be assigned over the weekend.
• Reading practice nightly – assigned class literature (30 minutes)
• Reading daily ongoing – free choice literature
• Math practice nightly (30 minutes)
• Spanish practice nightly (20 minutes)
• Additional homework in Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies that
  reinforces skills to increase student achievement, including critical
  thinking activities, summarizing and note-taking.
           Homework Expectations:
              Grades 6/7/8 (2)
• Test and quiz review
  *Students know several days in advance when they will be expected
  to take a quiz, test or other form of assessment. Reviewing for such
  assessments should be an ongoing practice and habit. In particular,
  on evenings when there is a light homework load, students should
  use the extra time available to prepare for upcoming quizzes, tests
  and long-term projects.
• Unfinished classroom work will be sent home for completion
  (this will require time in addition to regular homework
• Several long-term projects will be assigned throughout the
  course of the year (example: Literacy Portfolio, research
  projects, etc.)
How to Help with Homework
•   Homework assignments are designed so that students should be
    able to complete their homework independently. They have
    already learned what they need to know in class; homework is

•   If your child is confused about an assignment, encourage him/her
    to call a “buddy” from class.

•   If your child is still confused after calling a class buddy, he/she
    should write a “note” to the teacher explaining:
      – …whom he/she called to ask for help.
      – …why he/she finds the assignment confusing.

•   You (the parent) should sign the note your child wrote to the
     – This holds the student accountable to his/her responsibility.
     – This also keeps you informed about how your child feels
         about his/her assignments.
                The Value of Reading
• Scientific research clearly shows that reading, for children of all ages,
  significantly improves a child’s success in school across all subject areas.

• Read to your young children each night.
    – Reading does not have to be in English to be beneficial.
    – This models positive reading habits to your children, exposes them to creative
      storytelling, and creates good family bonding time.

• Invite your child read to you each night.

• Encourage your child to listen to audio books on tape or CD in English.
  These can be checked out free at your local public library.

• The more children read AND the more they are read to (or listen to audio
  books), the more successful they will be.
               Parent Visibility at School
• Students LOVE to see their parents on campus. Your presence on campus:
     – Shows your child that you value school and what they are doing at school.
     – Helps you stay up-to-date with all the activities happening on campus.
     – Promotes communication between school-home.

•   Attend weekly Wednesday assemblies (1:40pm-2:00pm)
    Nancy attends all assemblies regularly and is happy to serve as your translator.

•   Consider parking your car occasionally in the mornings and walking your child onto
    campus. Take a minute to watch them play on the playground. Stop by the office to say

•   Anytime you want to participate in something on campus or want to speak with
    someone, contact Nancy (415-453-1978). She will be more than happy to help make
    arrangements for you.
        The Pre-School Advantage

• Students entering Kindergarten have a significant learning
  advantage if they have already attended pre-school.
   – Pre-School promotes social interaction where children learn how to
     play and work together.
   – Pre-School exposes Spanish-speaking children to the English
     language, making transition into an English-speaking kindergarten
     class easier.
   – Pre-School introduces basic academic concepts to children, giving
     them greater academic success in kindergarten.
• Spanish-speaking kindergarteners with NO pre-school
  experience tend to be 1 grade level below their peers.
   – Their first year of kindergarten is typically spent learning English,
     which is necessary before they can successfully learn academics.
   – The earlier they begin learning English (pre-school), the more
     successful they will be academically.
What Can We do
to Support You?

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