At the end of each trimester, we assess each student one-on-one on a variety of standards we have worked on during that trimester. Although this is a loooooong process, it allows us to give parents very specific feedback on how their child is doing when report cards come out!
Below are links to the handouts we send home each trimester, letting parents know what skills will be tested, and what is expected of students in order to earn an "S" grade.
Our report cards come out before we track off at the end of October, February, and June. Kindergarten grades are slightly different from the other grade levels:
O= Outstanding (exceeds grade level standard)
S = Satisfactory (meets grade level standard)
NT = Needs Time (does not meet grade level standard but is making progress)
SC = Special Concern (far below standard and/or not making progress)
There is only one set of scheduled parent-teacher conference during the year, which are held at the end of the first trimester (last week of October). Parents are always welcome to request formal or informal conferences at any other time if they have questions or concerns!
Here's an outline of what usually goes on during our kindergarten conferences:
- Parents are given the 1st trimester report card; each category is explained and the student's grades are discussed
- Student work samples and assessments are shared with parents
- Parents and teachers list one or more goals for the remainder of the year
- Parents ask questions and/or bring up areas of concern
Parents are often concerned about the chances that their child will be "held back" if s/he is struggling in kindergarten. Here are some facts about retention and the way we handle the process at our school:
- Retention is always ultimately the parents' decision. Your child cannot and will not be retained unless you agree in writing!
- Birth dates are a huge factor in retention: if a child barely made the cutoff date to enter kindergarten and is struggling with academics and/or social maturity, giving them what we call "the gift of time" is often very helpful!
- Kindergarten is the easiest time to retain a child, because they have no expectation of what happens at the end of a school year, anyway! There is no stigma among kindergarteners about "flunking" or being "held back" so its effect on a child's self-confidence is much less than in higher grade levels.
- Repeating kindergarten is fairly common--we have about 1-3 students per class, per year, who come back for another year before moving on to first grade. In every case I have personally seen, the student thrived the following year...not because s/he "already knew the answers" or "had done everything once before," but because maturity and readiness to learn kicked in!
- There are no surprises! If we have concerns that your child MAY be a potential candidate for retention, we will usually bring this up during the 1st trimester Parent-Teacher Conference. There are 3 separate written notices that must be given to parents throughout the year, alerting them that the child is at risk for retention and outlining the reasons. Parents may always refuse to retain their child if they feel it is not in his/her best interest.