We benefit from a wealth of parent volunteers at Kensington School. That’s a great asset, and we’re lucky to have so many of you able to assist us in our classrooms, on our playgrounds, and in our enrichment classes. Most of us are aware of the research linking parent participation with increased student achievement, and all of our children benefit from the added attention and involvement.
It is critical that parents who are volunteering throughout our school remember that they have an obligation to respect our students’ and our families’ privacy. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) require us to maintain confidentiality regarding a student’s grades and behavior. As a parent volunteer in our classrooms it is important that you refrain from communicating anything about individual students to other parents or members of our community.
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During your child’s recent parent/teacher conference, I know many of you heard about the progress your student is making in writing. For the past four years, in addition to the important skills of reading and math, our teachers have focused a great deal of instructional time, as well as their own professional development, on writing. Using the Teachers College Units of Study in Writing, our students have, indeed, become writers and our teachers have become more skilled teachers of writing. Many of our teachers have attended a week-long summer institute, some in New York, and others at El Cerrito High School along with hundreds of their colleagues, to hone their skills in teaching writing.
Examples of student writing are frequently on display in the front hallway and in the office. In the spring, a school-wide display of writing will be held in the MPR. You will be able to read personal narratives, opinion writing, informational writing, and persuasive essays. You will be able to view the progression of writing skills from grade to grade, and you will be able to see the progress students make when they are given explicit instruction as well as daily time for writing.