The adoption of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in 2010 reaffirmed a commitment to a high quality education based on sound content standards. The CCSS are rigorous and research-based and identify skills needed to be college and career ready in the twenty-first century. Among the changes that educators noted was a focus on writing in three forms: writing to persuade, to explain, and to convey real or imagined experiences.
At Kensington School, as at many schools nationwide, our teachers began to hone their own skills as teachers of writing. Teachers attended professional development at our site, in collaborative teams District-wide, and at national workshops. KEF supported our school-wide emphasis on Teachers College Units of Study in Writing, helping us to purchase grade-level kits, classroom libraries, and access to professional development. The District supported two summer institutes which many teachers attended alongside their colleagues from other elementary schools, and some of our teachers traveled to New York to attend writing workshops at Columbia University’s Teachers College.
Every day your child should be engaged in writing in his/her classroom. Teachers spend approximately ten minutes each day in whole group direct instruction, and then students write independently for approximately thirty minutes while their teacher confers with individual students and works with small groups on writing strategies. It is amazing to see kindergartners who are able to focus on writing independently, who have skills and strategies for revision and editing, and who can generate topics that reflect their personal interests.
Last year we held our first Writing Festival and the response from our community was overwhelmingly positive. Parents were able to see the progression of skills from grade to grade and students were able to see how the work they are doing today will prepare them for the writing that will be expected of them next year. Teachers can see how the work their students are doing fits with the progression of skills in each of the writing genres.
This year’s Writing Festival will be held on Wednesday, February 13 from 6:00-7:30. Please join us in the MPR as we showcase our student writers. We are so excited to share their writing with you!
Every year parents, students, and school staff throughout the State have the opportunity to participate in an online survey. The purpose of the survey is to obtain information about school climate as it relates to student well-being. This year we have a new survey vendor, Youth Truth. Participation in all of these surveys is anonymous and voluntary for parents. The information helps guide district and school efforts to improve student achievement, promote safety, enhance learning supports, and reduce health risks. The more parents who participate in this survey, the more useful the data is that we receive. I hope you will complete the parent survey. Thanks so much for helping to provide data that we can use to improve the services we provide for your students and your family.