It is very hard to believe that the school year started nine months ago, but at the same time, it seems that we blinked and June was here. Back in September, our focus was on understanding where our …
It is very hard to believe that the school year started nine months ago, but at the same time, it seems that we blinked and June was here. Back in September, our focus was on understanding where our students were as learners came out of a year of remote and hybrid learning. The great thing about educators is that the focus is always on engaging each student where they are at in that moment. Wherever that learning level is, our goals are both high growth and proficiency.
At the start of the year, there was great variance in the learning levels shown by our students. Throughout the year, we have worked extremely hard to fill learning gaps, to make high growth toward grade level standards or course completion. Right now, our students are finishing up state testing and spring assessments, and the results are very promising compared to the fall. A quick summary of positive results include:
• Our students who started the year behind have made really strong growth. In many instances, these students have made more than a year’s worth of progress in one school year.
• Our students who were behind on graduation credit have made incredible gains this year. We have significantly reduced the number of students who are behind pace for on time graduation.
• Our students at all levels have demonstrated strong growth in literacy and math during the year.
Of course, we have a ways to go, and we are always seeking higher levels of growth and achievement. Even with improvement this year, we have to get better at daily attendance, academic stamina and engagement in positive school culture. Growth in these areas is strong, but we are definitely seeking higher levels of achievement.
As we head into summer, there are things that all students and families can do to maintain learning progress and to prepare for the best possible start to school next fall.
• Set aside daily time to read. We have a great Graduate Yelm! partner in the local library and they have great summer programs for students.
• Make a portion of summer outings educational. When taking a day trip or a full vacation, look for the historical or scientific learning aspects involved. The goal is to have fun learning new things.
• Take up a hobby or craft. This engages the brain in new learning and it is also fun.
• Volunteer. Any civic activity helps learners practice skills of collaboration and leadership.
We remain incredibly grateful to live in a community that seeks to support students. We want to thank everyone who has contributed to learning and growth in our students this year. Have a great summer.
Brian Wharton is the superintendent for Yelm Community Schools.
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