Thank you for helping me foster student responsibility and independence—
keys to their success!
- ASSIGNMENT POSTING: Is everything always posted on this site?
- CONTACT: What is the best way to contact Mrs. Garcia?
- COURSE LEVEL CHANGES: The teacher signed my child's course recommendation form & recommended the same course level next year.; however, I would like my child moved up a level next year. What should I do?
- EXTRA HELP: How do I know if my child should come for extra help?
- GRADE UPDATES: How is my child doing? Can you e-mail me weekly with updates or a list of missing assignments?
- LOW EXAM GRADES: My child's midterm or final exam grade is lower than I expected. Should I be worried?
- LOW GRADE AVERAGE: Why is my child's average suddenly so low? How can I help my child succeed?
- STILL A FAILING AVERAGE: My child has started to do all of his/her work and put in more effort, so why is his/her average still an F?
- PROGRESS REPORTS & REPORT CARDS: How many times per year do progress reports and report cards come out?
- READING DIFFICULTY: My child has trouble reading. What can I do to help?
ASSIGNMENT POSTING: Is everything always posted on this site?
This web site is maintained as a courtesy for my students and their parents. The site is intended for use as a guide to readings, long-term assignments, and current grades. The site will not necessarily contain every single assignment given, as that is not the site’s intended purpose or function. In order to meet the needs of my students, I have to be flexible when it comes to lesson planning, which sometimes includes adapting assignments on the spot. It is the student's job to pay attention in class so that s/he is aware of the assignments and has all of the information s/he needs.
CONTACT: What is the best way to contact Mrs. Garcia?
STUDENTS should see me in B-16 if they have questions.
PARENTS, please feel free to e-mail me. There is no telephone in the classroom; therefore, I can respond to you much faster if you e-mail me. I would be happy to do so. I check this school address Monday-Friday: email@example.com. Please note it is a PS address, not the HS address, which is an unused address.
COURSE LEVEL CHANGES: The teacher signed my child's course recommendation form & recommended the same course level next year.; however, I would like my child moved up a level next year. What should I do?
There is no need to worry just because a course selection form has already been signed. In January, teachers sign course selection forms for the following academic year and recommend course levels based on their assessment of student performance. If a student's ability is greater that his/her actual performance in class, that student may be able to handle a higher course level. In that case, encourage your child to put forth his/her best effort from now until the end of the year to make his/her true potential clear to the teacher. At the end of the year the teacher can revisit the course selection, and make an adjustment if appropriate. Students should also understand that just because they earned an A or B in English this year does not necessarily mean that they will earn the same grade when they move to a higher level. It is not uncommon for students who earned A's in one level to earn C's when they move to a higher level. This may disappoint some students at first until they adjust to the increased rigor of the higher level. Teachers have your child's best interest at heart and seek appropriate placement for each student.
EXTRA HELP: How do I know if my child should come for extra help?
Students should check their averages weekly, and I recommend that any student whose overall average is below 70 should come for an extra help session that week. Students whose averages are in the D/F range should meet with me to figure out what they can do to succeed, as well as what I can do to help them reach their goals. This is not a detention. Consider it an "attention," because that is what your child will get!
GRADE UPDATES: How is my child doing? Can you e-mail me weekly with updates or a list of missing assignments?
If I were to e-mail a customized weekly update for one parent who requested it, in all fairness I would have to extend that to all parents. As you can imagine, with approximately 100 students, such an arrangement is not possible. I may contact you if I notice a decline in your child's performance; however, I would be remiss to promise customized weekly reports, knowing full well that I would not be able to deliver. The only exceptions are for students whose IEP or 504 accommodations make this specification. If your child does not fall into those categories, and you believe that constant communication is merited, you can contact your child's guidance counselor and request a weekly progress report. It is your child's responsibility to give this weekly report to his or her teachers each Friday at the beginning of the period. The teachers will then complete the form and return it to your child who is responsible for transporting it home to you. Because the report has general boxes to check off, such as "Satisfactory" and "Good," I suggest that the Grades page of this site would provide you with more specific information. I have set up the Grades page for efficient and accurate updates. It has student averages posted 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Student averages are posted confidentially online and are updated toward the end of each week. Simply type in your child’s 7-digit student ID number. In addition, parents will receive 8 written updates per year in the mail (four progress reports and four report cards).
LOW EXAM GRADES: My child's midterm or final exam grade is lower than I expected. Should I be worried?
Not necessarily. Based on the grade patterns that I have seen in past years, it is not uncommon for a student's midterm or final exam grade to be a full letter grade lower than his or her marking term average. This might be attributed to pressure and resources. For example, although students have ample time to complete their exams, some students do not perform as well under pressure as they do during the marking term when they have more time to. In addition, during the marking term, students may seek help from teachers, parents, peers, etc. However, the exam reflects how well students are able to apply what they have learned and perform all by themselves. On the other hand, if a student's exam grade is higher than the marking term grade, it may indicate that the student is not working to his or her full potential during the term.
LOW GRADE AVERAGE: Why is my child's average suddenly so low? How can I help my child succeed?
Of course, the precise answer to this question will vary from student to student, and we can discuss your child's progress in more specific detail. In the meantime, if you will pardon this quick, "canned" answer, it is actually accurate 99% of the time. If you have asked your child the reason for a low average and he/she has said, "I don't know," one or more of the following reasons apply:
MISSING ASSIGNMENTS: Student has several homework assignments missing. Student may have a major assignment missing. (None of my students can say, “I turned in all my work, but I earned a D/F anyway.” Any student with an average in the D/F range had assignments missing.)
READING: Almost all classwork hinges upon the text in some way. Therefore, students who have not read the text or who have fallen behind in the reading usually fail quizzes, cannot complete homework or participate in discussion. They find their averages slipping rapidly. The problem could be one or more of the following:
1. The student is not reading the text.
2. The student, says he/she“read” the text, but actually just skimmed it without actively reading.
3. The student used Spark Notes / Cliff Notes instead of reading and learning to comprehend for himself/herself.
WRITING: Student is submitting draft-quality papers as the “finished” product. Student may have waited until the last minute and has given little, if any attention to the writing process (revising, editing, and proofreading).
You probably know much of this already, but in general, here is
what you can do to help your child succeed:
If you see your child using Spark Notes instead of or in addition to reading, please intervene, and prevent it. Cliff Notes may seem to help temporarily, but it is like putting a Band Aid on a
gunshot wound. See the Policies & FAQ page for more information.
The Connecticut Education Network provides an overview of the CAPT as well as access to rubrics and released test items. Once on the homepage, select "statewide testing" under the "parents" section in the left-hand column. If you have requested a meeting with guidance and/or your child's teacher(s), please make sure that your son or daughter is there at the meeting. Please let your son or daughter know that you regard their education as a top priority, and help them minimize absences. When possible, try to schedule doctor appointments after school hours. The Board of Education strongly believes that family vacations should not take place when school is in session. Students who minimize their absences avoid falling behind and even losing course credit due to excessive absences. If your child is going to miss school because of a family vacation, please be courteous and notify his or her teachers as soon as possible. Teachers need enough time to gather and copy the necessary materials and assignments so that they can be given to the student in advance. In order for your child to get caught up more easily and not fall behind, he or she should speak with the teacher in advance to set up due dates for the makeup work. Although this Web site is a tool for parents, it is primarily a tool for students. Please encourage students to be responsible for keeping track of their own work.
STILL A FAILING AVERAGE: My child has started to do all of his/her work and put in more effort, so why is his/her average still an F?
After a student with a D or an F average starts to increase his efforts, the student and parent may become frustrated if they do not see a noticeable increase in the student’s average right away. That is understandable. However, mathematically speaking, when a student has accumulated a number of zeroes or failing grades over a period of time, it takes nearly an equal amount of time for the average to increase. That is the way that averages work. Therefore, dramatic changes in averages decrease as the marking term continues. Teachers certainly appreciate the student's recent dedication to increasing his efforts--and we wish there were a quick fix--but there is no shortcut. The student must be patient and persistent in his efforts. Earlier in the course, if the student spent much time doing little to no work and not practicing the skills, it will take time for him to develop the skills and raise his average. I know we are all concerned about a passing grade for students, but above all, if they focus on learning, the passing grades will automatically follow.
PROGRESS REPORTS & REPORT CARDS: How many times per year do progress reports and report cards come out?
Report cards come out four times a year. Progress reports are sent home halfway through each marking term as well. Therefore, if you do not receive these reports, you may want to ask your child if he or she forgot to give you the mail. (Due to the speed of snail mail, the grade on the Grades Page is often more up to date than the paper progress report you will receive.)
READING DIFFICULTY: My child has trouble reading. What can I do to help?
Consider getting the book on tape or CD. Although these can be purchased, many libraries have books on tape. Have your child read along and take notes while listening to the tape. This is not cheating because the student is listening to the actual text, not someone's interpretation of the text. Consider buying your child his/her own copy of the book so that he/she may write (annotate) directly in the book. If you see your child using Spark Notes instead of or in addition to reading, please intervene, and prevent it. Cliff Notes may seem to help temporarily, but it is like putting a Band Aid on a gunshot wound. See the FAQ, Policies, and Procedures page for more information.