Sunday, October 21, 2018

October 21 Update

Dear Parents and Guardians,

I hope this message finds you well.  I would like to thank Mrs. Mai Harrison, MPA President, all the parent volunteers, and Amanda Harrison, 8th grader, for volunteering their time Friday evening to help organize and chaperone the 6th Grade Halloween Dance.  I am very impressed with how well all the 6th graders behaved during the event.  It was a pleasure to see all the creative costumes and watch all the students interact with each other in a positive manner and have a great time.

I would also like to remind everyone that the midpoint for Trimester 1 of the school year was last Wednesday.  All parents and guardians should expect grade updates from teachers who teach full courses by this coming Wednesday.  I would like to encourage all parents and guardians to put these progress reports in context.  The information you will be receiving describes the progress that your student is making.  It, by no means, indicates what grade your students will be getting by the end of the trimester.  Please also remember most teachers are spending class time during the first few weeks of the school year engaging students in activities that build foundations for the year.  Those activities may pertain to relationship building, setting class expectations, and reviewing materials covered in previous year.  Therefore, some of the work your student has done may not be reflected on his or her progress report.  Your student’s progress report grade may be based on the results of only a few assessments and thus may be an inflated or deflated description of his of her overall performance.

As usual, if you have concerns about your student’s performance after reviewing the progress reports, please reach out to the teachers.  They would be happy to have those discussions with you.

In my opinion, one of the most exciting aspects of working with adolescents is seeing their creativity, willingness to explore, and desire for novelty.  These traits come hand in hand with making mistakes and experiencing failures.  Jessica Lahey wrote an excellent book a few years ago called “The Gift of Failure”.  In it, she discussed why it is so important for parents and educators to teach students how to cope with life’s inevitable disappointments, stresses, and frustrations instead of striving to remove them or prevent those elements from occurring in the students’ daily lives.  Attached here is a video of Ms. Lahey discussing how teaching young people to cope with failure is an essential part of developing confident, resilient, and competent young adults.

I am bringing up Ms. Lahey’s work to encourage everyone to remember that learning is a long-term process that will inevitably involve struggles, frustrations, and disappointments.  The bumps on the road that your students will experience are essential to attaining the long term success that we want all of them to achieve.  It is not easy for any of us to watch well meaning students struggle.  However. it is important for us to take a step back and examine those situations in perspective instead of rushing in to fix the problems for them.

Thank you and enjoy the upcoming week!

James Lin
McCall Middle School

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