146 students, 146 personal handwritten notes of encouragement to my students who are about to take their seventh grade End-of-Grade reading test.
My hand is tired, but it was so worth it reflecting on a year of working with these amazing kids. So many triumphs, so many nicknames and inside jokes, so many challenges overcome, even a little Honduran slang acquired. So much growth in various shapes and forms for all of us.
When you have 146 students, one size definitely does not fit all. And after 10 months of working closely together day in and day out, it’s amazing how well you come to know individual needs and exactly what kind of support each child could benefit from the most. Some of my students have never passed a reading test and need to have the confidence to believe that they can. Some may know they can do it but struggle with the motivation to sustain their effort on an assessment this long and dry. I have students who routinely score in the 99th percentile and are all stressed out about dropping to the 98th. They need to be reminded that they are good enough. 146 students, 146 sizes.
We talk a lot these days about more than a score, about the need to help our students keep their assessments in perspective and not let anyone think they are completely defined by their scores. And I am grateful that we can have those conversations and recognize the need for a well-rounded approach to teaching and learning. It’s my hope that one day our assessments of students will more closely measure the kinds of real-world skills we want them to have.
At the same time, while our current system is flawed, it’s the system we have right now. So we make the best of it while we advocate for the changes that our students need.
146 students, 146 individuals with strengths and needs and hopes and dreams.