Conversations in Education
From teacher book groups to conversations in the faculty lounge, Prep faculty and administrators think a lot about how we support students. Each month in 2017-18, we are featuring a piece by a Prep faculty member or administrator that gives a slice of life at Prep. If you would like to share your ideas, feel free to comment on an individual post or contact Dean of Studies Sarah Cooper.
From teacher book groups to conversations in the faculty lounge, Prep faculty read and talk a lot about education. Each month we highlight a few memorable pieces or videos. Our goal is to make the process of parenting, learning and living a little saner, to put things a little more in perspective. These articles will be chosen by Prep teachers and administrators. If you want to share your ideas, feel free to comment on an individual post or contact Dean of Studies Sarah Cooper.
October Newsletter: Challenge and Success: Supporting Students Through Monthly Grade Level Meetings
By Midge Kimble, Dean of Students
It’s Monday morning in my office, and I am anticipating Wednesday and Thursday, when we will hold our monthly grade level meetings.
The six different meetings have a component of success and a component of challenge. I am awaiting the list of students who may be experiencing academic difficulties. I am pondering the students who are dealing with difficult circumstances in their personal lives. I am looking forward to stories of our students’ triumphs as shared by their teachers.
The first step before a grade level meeting is a conversation with the grade’s dean and myself. These “pre” meetings are important to focus the grade level meeting later that week – a gathering that will be time limited but data rich.
The dean and I first consider the students who are having challenges. Patterns of behaviors or grades are important to consider. Our discussion of an agenda also covers the activities the class is involved in right now and how the class is doing in general. This week’s round of meetings will be about Homecoming, class trips and balance for the students.
Grade level meetings are a hallmark of Prep and its culture. We gather as a faculty once a month to focus on students and their teenage lives, determined not to let anyone at Prep fall through the cracks.
It is a pleasure to problem solve creatively about how to shepherd students forward in their journey of growth and maturation. Adolescence is not an easy stage of life, and these discussions are an avenue to foster growth. The grade level meetings allow faculty to share stories and put our heads together to help our students navigate their days.
After two days of meetings, the grade level dean and I reconvene to talk about an action plan in relation to what we heard at the meetings.
We ask lots of questions. Should a conference be held? Should a phone call be made to a parent? Should we talk to the student? Is it best for the grade level dean or best for me to hold that conversation? How does the student learn best? What are the successes we should celebrate? How is the balance of our students’ lives going?
Our conversations are intentional, thoughtful and even celebratory – one of the many ways we care for kids at Prep.
For an on-the-ground glimpse into a grade level meeting, please click here.
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