The Au Gres-Sims School District
Au Gres-Sims Families and Community,
The school-home relationship is a critical one for the learning success of all students. While students spend a significant chunk of their day at school, they also spend a lot of time at home with their families. All too often one of these two (if not both) is unaware of what the other is doing to advance the learning of the student. That is why communication is such a critical component of the school-home relationship. Teaching a child to learn takes more than lessons completed in the classroom, it takes reflection, discussion, and reinforcement at home to cement those lessons and to make connections to the world outside of these district walls.
While the communication between school and home has always been excellent at the elementary level, too often it begins to fade at the secondary level. I am guilty of this myself, with daughters in both the middle school and the high school, often defaulting to a mindset of "they should be responsible for that," or "my parents never did that." The reality is school is different now than when we were kids and so are the kids themselves. They face different challenges today than we ever had when we were in school. Things like cell phones, social media, reality tv, internet trends, influencers, etc. are variables in their lives that were not even imaginable during our secondary schooling. The truth is our middle and high school students need just as much home support as our elementary students do and that is why we have made an increased effort this year to reach out and make those calls to parents, to enlist their assistance, and to team up in order to maximize the learning of students in the classroom.
Those conversations, however, are often very difficult for both parents and teachers alike, which is the purpose of my post this week. Below are some tips that may be useful for parents to have when talking with teachers and other school officials.
- Practice communication skills
- Stay calm
- Take a teamwork approach
- Prepare a list of questions ahead of time
- Keep an open mind
- Treat them with respect
- Organize your thoughts
- Discuss next steps and/or find a solution
The place to start is truly the understanding that both the teacher/school official and the parent want what is best for the student. Topics of conversation could include difficulty with content, misbehavior, anxiety, peer relationships, etc. It is all too easy to fall into the misconception that the teacher has it out for the student, a myth perpetuated too often by students confronted with difficulty at school. While I am not naïve to claim that this is never the case it is by far the exception rather than the rule.
I get it, I have three kids of my own, and when they are struggling for whatever reason, you as a parent want to swoop in and make the hurting stop. A great way to do that is for parents to work with the school, assuming the best from each other, to create the framework by which the student is able to help themselves with the support of the adults in their life.
Thanks for reading and have a wonderful weekend.
K-12 Principal's Update
Parents have heard it many times before about how important it is to read to children. And it is! But besides the value of improving their reading skills, which helps children succeed in all content areas, the benefits go beyond just literacy. Reading from birth develops language pathways in your child's brain, but even the tactile experience of holding or touching a book supports babies’ cognitive development. Research shows that young children whose parents read to them daily have been exposed to at least 29,000 more words by the time they enter kindergarten…and it could be over a million words depending on how much daily reading time you get in! Reading is also an important tool for helping children to develop empathy. As kids read books about people whose lives are different from their own, they gain appreciation for other people’s feelings, cultures, lifestyles, and perspectives. Having time to read with a parent or caregiver isn’t just about the activity of reading, but a chance for everyone to slow down, connect with each other, and share an enjoyable experience. The physical contact of reading also helps to engage neurons in the brain, which makes kids more receptive to the language and cognitive stimulation they get from the experience. So what’s important to read? As a newborn, anything. As kids get older, the content may be more important. And, there’s no reason to stop reading to kids once they are able to read themselves. Kids often enjoy hearing books above their ability level (which is good for them) and the bonding process is still just as important.
Monday starts the beginning of the second marking period. It also represents a fresh start for every student regarding grades…and RTP. This new reset provides opportunity for change and improvement. Although we are two weeks into the new year, it’s a good time to develop those new school based resolutions of how we can all improve in our best investments…our children.
From the Desk of Ms. Socha
It is hard to believe that we are already finished with our first semester of this school year! Now begins the transition to 2nd semester which does bring changes to many of our students. For those who are taking credit recovery classes, we are beginning to schedule classes for the next 9 weeks, as scores are released from the credit recovery teachers. Some of these scores may not be released until the start of next week, but we have a good idea at this point if students have passed their classes or not. For this next 9 week class period, I am actually going to close the class 2 days before the end of the marking period to allow for time for grading and any additional issues. This will also (hopefully) prevent students from waiting until the last minute to request their final exam to be unlocked and pushing things into the next marking period. We are always looking for ways to make the credit recovery process more successful, and this will be one of the several adjustments being made to this process.
Next week also opens our NWEA testing window for the winter session. Students will be scheduled for testing over the next 2 weeks, and I will be holding make-up test sessions the week of January 30th. The hope is to be completely finished testing by February 3rd, but we always need to be prepared for snow days to throw a wrench in the schedule. Teachers will communicate the testing schedules for individual classes. As I have mentioned before, we use this data for a variety of purposes, such as intervention skills and focus areas and monitoring of student growth. Students are also interested in seeing their growth and if they have met their growth goals. It is a great way to celebrate and recognize the hard work that students have been accomplishing. If you have any questions regarding NWEA testing, please feel free to contact me.
School Breakfast and Lunch Menu for January 16-20, 2023
Mental health challenges are common among students. According to the National
Research Council and Institute of Medicine, 1 in 5 children living in the United States
experience a mental disorder every year.
The two links below may be helpful in determining if your son or daughter has some mental health needs. The first is informational. The second is a psychologist finder...to use this one you will need to widen the search radius to 50 miles (it defaults to 25 miles).
It is nice to be back to school and back to high school athletics. Next week our boys and girls basketball teams, as well as our hockey team, will all be back in action.
Next Week's Schedule of Events:
- 6p V Girls Basketball AWAY @ Hale
- ~7:30p V Boys Basketball AWAY @ Hale
- 6p V Girls Basketball HOME vs. Atlanta
- ~7:30p V Boys Basketball HOME vs. Atlanta
- 8p V Hockey AWAY @ Bishop Foley (Gladwin Arena)
- 4p V Hockey AWAY @ Grand Blanc (Gladwin Arena)
BEAT THE WINTER BLUES - Middle School Ski Trip
We have organized a special group rate of $52 per person and that includes skis/snowboard rental and a lift ticket, but we need 20 people to get that rate. That number includes both students and adults, so let's make it happen!
If you are interested or have any questions, please contact Mr. Ostrander at email@example.com.
The Wolverine Wake-Up
Help Wanted at AGS
Job Opportunities at AGS
- Paraprofessional - Middle School Placement, grades 6-8 (posting closes next week)
We are also always on the lookout for substitute teachers. If interested, please inquire with Mrs. Miller in the district administration office, (989) 876-7157 and she will put you into direct contact with Laurie Crane at ESS-WillSub
The Staff that Plays Together Grows Together
Dubbed the Staff Culture Gathering, the activity has changed, but has blossomed for this once per month event.
A big thank you goes out to 5th grade teacher Sarah Wilk for leading the AGS Staff Culture Gathering this month, lending her yoga expertise to guide staff through a relaxing hour.