PARTNERING WITH PARENTS
We recognize that students in the lower grades benefit and experience greater success when there is consistent and meaningful communication between home and school.
The teachers and the administration feel communication between home and school on a weekly basis regarding student progress and achievements is a piece of the program that will create an environment for student growth.Here are a few of the regular communications families can expect as part of the DVFS Lower School community:
Daily Student Feedback
Classroom teachers provide daily feedback to both students and parents around attributes of general good citizenship as a DV lower school student using the daily STAR sheet. STAR acronym stands for: Students Taking Active Responsibility. Teachers in each class let students know how they are doing on:
- Being on time and prepared for class
- Homework completion
- In-class behavior that is respectful and kind to teachers and fellow students
- Bringing a positive effort and attitude to school work
This is a consistent format for daily feedback that is both collaborative and individualized to provide a snapshot of the student’s school experience in real time so that teachers and parents can work together to support, motivate, encourage and inspire students to make the most of their DV education.
Including the students in the conversation and decisions about how each day went builds reflective skills, promotes clear communication and understanding between teachers and students, and helps younger students to begin to take ownership of their learning and the first steps toward self-advocacy.
Lower school students will use a printed plan book to track homework assignments and materials needed. Teachers incorporate explicit time and instruction on recording what needs to be completed each day and reminders about what materials students will need to have with them in order to complete those tasks successfully. The plan book is another great daily tool to make sure that students, teachers, and parents are on the same page with regard to homework.Learn more about DVFS's philosophy about homework in this Blog post from Jason Seggern, Lower & Middle School Director.
Weekly Classroom Updates
Lead teachers provide a weekly overview of what is covered in each class. This email communication keeps families in the loop of what their students are studying and provides great opportunities for parents to engage their children in conversations about these experiences.
Other Touch Points Throughout the Year
Continuous progress monitoring is built into DVFS’s Orton-Gillingham approach to teaching, in which teachers are constantly assessing and adapting to students’ learning needs. However, more formal processes for progress monitoring in the lower school program include initial placement testing, informal classroom assessments, teacher observation, and spring testing to benchmark progress in specific areas.
Report cards will be issued at the end of each trimester. The lower school report card will provide feedback on the student’s command of content area skills and concepts as well as work habits.
Student/parent/teacher conferences will be conducted twice a year. Students are required attend and encouraged to be active participants at these conferences to reinforce the collaborative nature of DV’s approach to learning and to provide opportunities for metacognitive conversations and early practice in self-advocacy.
An open dialogue between parents, teachers and students is critical to a successful educational partnership. Any questions, concerns and feedback from the school will be addressed promptly via email, phone calls or scheduled meetings. Likewise, our lower school team of administrators and teachers is readily accessible by email, phone, and scheduled meetings when needed.
Parent education and community engagement
Opportunities for parent education and community engagement are provided throughout the year. Some examples include new parent orientations, Back to School Night, occasional parent coffees, workshops from both DV faculty and outside experts in relevant topics and fields, social and fundraising events.