Another school year is here! It is always an exciting time of the year as we see our children off to a new teacher, or perhaps a new school, and imagine all of the learning adventures they are about to embark upon.
Our question at Stamford Parents United is: DO YOU REALLY KNOW HOW WELL YOUR CHILD IS PERFORMING ACADEMICALLY?
According to a recent TIME article,"many American parents would be shocked to know where their kids were actually achieving. Nationally, 90% of parents think their children are reading and doing math at or above grade level. In fact, 26% of eighth graders are proficient or above in math and 31% are proficient or above in English, according to Learning Heroes, an organization that collects data and creates resources to improve parent-teacher relationships."
Stamford Public Schools fare only slightly better than the national average. The Stamford Advocate reported that the most recent state tests show English scores continuing their downward spiral from 40.6% in the 2021-22 school year to 37.8% in the 2022-23 school year, while math scores are at 32.4%, which is slightly up from the 31.9% the previous year.
That means that 62% of students cannot read or write on grade level and 67% cannot do math on grade level.
That also means, your child is likely starting this school year out unable to perform academically at the grade level into which they have just entered. They may have come home with A's and B's on their report card, but that doesn't mean they have actually mastered the material. And even if your child is truly performing at or above grade level, how can they reach their full potential if the majority of the students around them have no idea what is going on?
So what can you do as a parent?
1) Ask questions!
After years of lacking any curriculum at all (for countless years only about 20% of classes had a written curriculum), the district is rolling out new reading, math, and social studies curricula - ask about it and ask to see it.
2) Check in with your child daily about their schoolwork.
Go through their backpack and review assignments to see if your child truly did grasp the material. Follow up with their teacher and the administration with any questions that you have. Ask questions early and ask them often!
3) Find out what performing at grade level means.
We recommend resources like Khan Academy so you can get an accurate idea of what grade level work looks like. Khan Academy has modules in the core subjects by grade, so you can compare and contrast the level of difficulty to see if your child is truly be given grade level assignments.
4) Join us for a session on Sunday, September 17th at 1pm at Scalzi Park to review the new curricula being rolled out be SPS, go over the state scores and what it means to read and do math proficiently on grade level, and voice your questions and concerns. Additionally, we will have a special education advocate present to review your federally guaranteed rights to a Free and Appropriate Public Education and who will be offering FREE consultations to review your child's IEP and ensure they are getting the appropriate services and accommodations.
Stamford Parents United is committed to advocating for academic excellence for ALL children in the Stamford Public Schools. We could not do this without you. If you would like to get more involved or share your thoughts and ask questions, please send us an email to [email protected].