We used to go visit my cousins in the summer; it was 6 hours from New York to Wells, Maine. Usually, it was on Route 84 around Waterbury, Connecticut when my dad would turn his head from the driver's seat to the six of us kids, "Do I have to pull this car over?" His words were often precipitated by tears (mine in particular) as my big brother, Taren, counted my freckles, '101, 102, 103...' I don't remember my Dad actually ever stopping the car but his words were enough of a 'check-in', that we all settled back in for the rest of the ride, or at least until we stopped for a late breakfast at IHOP.
April feels a lot like Route 84 in Waterbury to me. A lot has happened in our school. We have made a ton of progress and now it seems like a good time to 'check in,' albeit without my Dad's big words, 'Do I have to pull this car over?' Last August, I let our school community know that we were going to work on three goals this year. First, our early learning community hoped to foster parent and teacher learning, while focusing on family engagement/peaceful classroom communities. Our second goal was to improve attendance at our schools. Lastly, our third goal was to help all of our four year olds (Pre-K students) at Captain Hunt to know half of their letters and sounds and for Kindergartners to know 100 sight words and be reading at Diagnostic Reading Assessment (DRA) Instructional Level 4 by the end of the year. How are we doing? In March, our school attendance average was 88 percent and our assessment showed that 67 percent of our Kindergartners are reading at DRA Instructional Level 3 and fully able to read 100 plus sight words. At Captain Hunt, most of the Pre-K students know the letters in their name and at least 1/2 of the letters and sounds. During the past few months the last cohort of faculty have been finishing 36 hours of Incredible Years professional development. We have been working with Mr. Edgar, Miss Esperanza and Miss Lucy to incorporate meaningful family engagement into our school community.
We have almost three more months of our learning journey together; our last day is June 23rd. Thank you for helping us to work together diligently and with focus towards our goal of 100 percent attendance each and every day at both Captain Hunt and Robertson Schools. Thank you especially for your support as we work together to help your child to know all of their letters and sounds and begin the journey, as not only readers, but lifelong learners. It seems like forever ago that my Dad said those words as the old blue station wagon squished full with eight Tanners cruised through Waterbury on the way to the beach. I know that his strong words were just reminding us where we were headed, "Do I have to pull this car over?" No, Dad. We're on our way!
Beth Tanner, MS Ed