By Linda Rosenbury, Doctoral Resident
With students learning remotely, family engagement is more important than ever. A new subcommittee is involving families in the district’s shift away from a points-based approach to grading towards a standards-based approach. Throughout the year, members will be drafting communication materials and partnership structures, trying them out, and making revisions based on family feedback.
The subcommittee is driven by the belief that all families have the capacity to support their children’s learning. Equity is a key focus of the subcommittee, starting with its own membership. Teachers and central-office staff from the Teaching, Learning and Leadership, and Family Engagement departments are working together to engage families from different linguistic and cultural backgrounds.
Engaging families in co-creating the standards-based grading process will promote more effective partnerships between school and home. The subcommittee will include family-vetted materials on the website and professional learning modules that build and sustain relationships between teachers and families. When families understand their children’s current progress towards grade-level standards, they can use what they know about their children to support learning.
Teachers are applying Universal Design for Learning and Culturally-Responsive Approaches, creating more opportunities than ever for families to support their children’s learning. Families can use their children’s backgrounds and interests to co-design re-engagement and re-assessment opportunities. Student agency will increase when they see their teachers and families partnering to provide multiple ways for them to demonstrate their mastery of standards.