Friday, October 25, 2013


Discovery School Families,

Now that student-led conferences are finished and you have your child’s MAP results, we would like to share some information and links with you in order for you  to support your child in his/her areas of need.
For more information about the overall Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) process:

The following NWEA Parent Toolkit was created as a resource and guide for parents. It includes Frequently Asked Questions, Tips for Parents, and a list of web sites for parents and kids:

We’d also like to provide you with 2 excellent resources for at-home practice. For each, you’ll need to look at your child’s Student Goal Setting Worksheet, which was shared with you at conferences.

For reading, look at your child’s RIT range by goal strand for Fall 2012. Use these numbers to select appropriate activities under each goal area. This website is aligned to Minnesota standards, so there are some discrepancies in the categorizing. Our suggestion for finding comprehension activities is to use the overall RIT score for reading.
            Website Wording                                                        MAP Wording
            Word Recognition, Analysis, and Vocabulary             Word Analysis and Vocabulary
Comprehension: Narrative                                          Literal, Interpretive, and Evaluative Comprehension
Comprehension: Informational                                   Literal, Interpretive, and Evaluative Comprehension
            Literature                                                                    Literature Response/Analysis
Here is the reading website:

For math, look at your child’s RIT range by goal strand for Fall 2012. Use these numbers to select appropriate activities under each goal area. For example, if your child’s RIT range for Geometry is 175-190, you would go to the click on the 171-180 and 181-190 links under Geometry and Measurement in order for find activities at your child’s level. Since Geometry and Measurement are grouped together, you would be looking for geometry skills, such as shapes.
            Website Wording                                            MAP Wording
            Number and Operation                                   Computation and Number Sense
            Geometry and Measurement                          Geometry and Measurement 
Data Analysis                                                  Statistics and Probability
            Algebra                                                            Algebraic Concepts
Here is the math website:

We know that parent support and at-home practice are essential for student success. We hope you find these resources useful. Please feel free to contact us with any questions.

Sunday, October 20, 2013


In order to help your child have a successful school year, you need to know what is expected of him/her, academically, from now until June. Parent-teacher conferences at Discovery School will be held this Friday, October 25. These conferences present an excellent opportunity to find out how your child is adjusting to the new school year and to get to know his/her teachers, and what the expectations are for the school year.

What should you expect?

Ø      A two-way conversation. Like all good conversations, parent–teacher conferences are best when both people talk and listen. The conference is a time for you to learn about your child’s progress in school: Ask to see data about your child’s attendance, grades, and test scores. Find out whether your child is meeting school expectations and academic standards. This is also a time for the teacher to learn about what your child is like at home. When you tell the teacher about your child’s skills, interests, needs, and dreams, the teacher can help your child more.

Ø      Emphasis on learning. Good parent–teacher conferences focus on how well the child is doing in school. They also talk about how the child can do even better. To get ready for the conversation, look at your child’s homework, tests, and notices before the conference. Be sure to bring a list of questions that you would like to ask the teacher.

Ø      Opportunities and challenges. Just like you, teachers want your child to succeed. You will probably hear positive feedback about your child’s progress and areas for improvement. Be prepared by thinking about your child’s strengths and challenges beforehand. Be ready to ask questions about ways you and the teacher can help your child with some of his or her challenges.

What should you talk to the teacher about?

  • Progress. Find out how your child is doing by asking questions like: Is my child performing at grade level? How is he or she doing compared to the rest of the class? What do you see as his or her strengths? How could he or she improve?
  • Assignments and assessments. Ask to see examples of your child’s work. Ask how the teacher gives grades.
  • Your thoughts about your child. Be sure to share your thoughts and feelings about your child. Tell the teacher what you think your child is good at. Explain what he or she needs more help with.
  • Support learning at home. Ask what you can do at home to help your child learn. Ask if the teacher knows of other programs or services in the community that could also help your child.
  • Support learning at school. Find out what services are available at the school to help your child. Ask how the teacher will both challenge your child and support your child when he or she needs it.

How should you follow up?
  1. Make a plan. Write down the things that you and the teacher will each do to support your child. You can do this during the conference or after. Write down what you will do, when, and how often. Make plans to check in with the teacher in the coming months.
  2. Schedule another time to talk. Communication should go both ways. Ask how you can contact the teacher. And don’t forget to ask how the teacher will contact you too. There are many ways to communicate—in person, by phone, notes, email. Make a plan that works for both of you. Be sure to schedule at least one more time to talk in the next few months.
  3. Talk to your child. The parent–teacher conference is all about your child, so don’t forget to include him or her. Share with your child what you learned. Show him or her how you will help with learning at home. Ask for his or her suggestions.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

How Do I Know If My Child Needs Extra Help in School?

We all want our child(ren) to be successful and happy at school. The key to knowing if your child has a problem in school is to be an involved parent. Let your child know you are there for him/her and that you will do anything you can to help. If you suspect a problem and the answer isn't forthcoming from your child, don't hesitate to contact his/her teacher. Ask questions until you get answers.

Be an involved parent 

How do you know if your child is having trouble in school? Look for changes in her behavior and attitude. If her grades suddenly drop or if he/she seems to be struggling with a subject or subjects, talk to him/her and contact his/her teacher. If you suspect a problem, don't wait for a report card to come home.
Monitor homework and graded work that comes home. Talk to your child about the good and troubling things you see. Offer praise for good grades or improved work, but let him/her know you notice a slide in work quality or if he/she seems to be struggling with a subject. This is also a good time to talk to the teacher and find out when tests are coming up and when they will be returned. Do this either by calling or maintaining e-mail contact with your child's teacher.
Unfinished work also may be a sign your child is struggling. Children having a tough time with the assigned work may just give up out of frustration. If you notice this, make sure you are there to help with homework or perhaps find a tutor who can help. Do not do the work for your child, just offer enough help so that he/she understands the subject matter and the assignment.
MAP test scores can also give you an indication of whether or not your child has a problem in school. Look at your child's results. If you see a problem talk to the teacher about what needs to be done to make improvements. 

Partner with the teacher

Don't hesitate to talk to your child and to his teacher. Teachers appreciate involved parents, but don't go into discussions with the teacher in attack mode. Focus on helping your child with his/her struggles and coming up with a plan. Avoid going to the area administrator before talking to his teacher. Following the correct channels of communication is a great way to foster an effective relationship.

Saturday, October 5, 2013


As parents and teachers, it is our job to train our children to grow to be successful adults. Productive routines are at the core of independence and responsibility. Children crave routines and thrive and benefit from them. Mornings are no exception, and mornings works best when there is a routine in place. Most children do fine as long as everything goes as planned in the mornings.

As an adult you can probably get out of the house in 10 minutes flat. In 10 minutes you can brush your teeth, shower, get dressed, and grab a quick breakfast. Add children in to the mix and there is no way you can get out of the house in 10 minutes. Your child may be one who constantly needs to go back to his/her bedroom to get one last thing, leading to a delay. Another child may need constant reminders to brush hair, teeth, and get ready. On the other hand, some children are early risers. The earlier he/she gets up the more compliant he/she can be. The important thing is to develop a routine that works for you at your home, and allows for a smooth beginning to the school day. Here are some things you may want to consider:

1. Wake Up Time - If you've got more than one kid in the house, and especially if you have a large family, consider staggering wake up times for greater efficiency. Start with kids who need assistance first, or the ones who are real sleepyheads who move slowly in the morning. Does a parent really have to wake kids up anyway? Except for youngsters, kids can learn to awaken by an alarm clock and get themselves up without mom or dad hovering and yelling, "Are you up yet?" Let them decide what is the best time for the alarm to go off and get ready on time. If this means he/she doesn't get her hair braided or one doesn't get second helpings on cereal, encourage them to set their alarm 15 minutes earlier tomorrow. Cause and's a good lesson to learn!

2. Getting Dressed - Clothing, down to clean socks, underwear and shoes, and even matching hair accessories should be laid out each night before bed. Youngsters can play a role in choosing the outfit, but no changes are allowed once their head hits the pillow. And, then stick with it! The only exceptions should be an unknown tear or stain, or surprise change in the weather. This avoids missing socks, unmatched shirt and shoes, and keeps getting dressed a simple step in beginning the day vs. a looming battle.

3. Breakfast - Breakfast is important--some experts argue that it is the most important meal of the day, so your kids need a nutritious start each morning. However, that start shouldn't put parents in a work bind or make kids late for school. Whether you have a weekly menu, or adhere to cereal and fruit, it is important to have a plan for what breakfast will be. Find something that works for your household and that your child(ren) likes.

4. Making Lunch - The night before, unpack the lunch boxes, clean out wrappers, and refreeze ice packs. If you have more than one lunchbox to pack,  pack the same lunch. You know your child the best, so you know what your child likes to eat.  Pack snacks and lunches that are acceptable. Lunch works best if all items that I need are in a convenient location. Ask your child what he/she likes to eat at school.

5. Backpacks, Shoes, Coats, Lunchboxes - Have the children pack their backpacks the night before to make sure homework is in the folder with notes to the teacher and permission slips.  Place lunchboxes, musical instruments, coats and any other object that needs to go to school the next day next to the backpacks.

6. Leaving on Time - When considering when to leave your house to be ready for the school bus or to drive to school, consider the following:
·        time it takes to buckle child in car seat (if you have an infant or a toddler factor in the time it will take to get all your children in your car or van)
·        time it takes to get coat, shoes, gloves on for all children
·        time it takes to find the child’s school bag, lunch box, coat, shoes, spare supplies
·        time it takes to drive to school/walk to bus stop
·        extra time you may need if traffic is an issue in your area

Basically, leave yourself plenty of time. Children do not know the words “hurry up” or “let’s go.” Even if you are not the most organized person, you do realize that children need to live in an organized home. Stressed out parents = stressed out kids. “Plan” and “organize” are a happy parent’s favorite words.

Remember, it is never too late to establish routines. Look at what has worked so far, what is not working, and what will work in the future. Develop a plan with your children and then realize that you are responsible for training them step by step. If you use patience and understanding, your children will gladly participate in finding what works. Nobody likes a chaotic, hurried experience. After thirty days of intense training, your kids will relax into the pattern and the set routine. This will help them have a great day at school.