Parent Night for Hispanic Families
Nicasio School: November 18, 2009
Thank you for taking time out
of your busy schedules to attend
• 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
– Language Arts (Reading & Writing in English)
– 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
• 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
• 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.
• Students often have stress and anxiety
about homework because of the fear of
• Students think that making mistakes
means that they are not smart.
• To protect themselves, students often
choose not to take risks and avoid
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 will be assigned Monday
through Thursday nights.
• Reading practice nightly
• Math practice nightly
• Spelling practice weekly beginning
mid-year of grade 1
• Unfinished classwork may be sent
home for completion
• 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
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.
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
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
– 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?