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Supporting Students: It Takes a Village

One of the things that impresses me about our faculty is the daily commitment that each faculty member makes to get to know your child as a learner and as a person. This allows each teacher to think about how to best support the students in his or her class and to design learning experiences that challenge each student in meaningful ways. This depth of understanding plays itself out most obviously through individual student-teacher relationships, but is supported by a collegial and reflective team approach to all matters concerning curriculum and kids.

As we approach Family Conferences and students and teachers think about progress made and areas of strength and challenge, I thought that it would be useful to speak a bit about how, as a team, our faculty support your children.

On a regular basis, grade-level teams meet to discuss students and to explore how we can best meet individual needs in the context of the larger learning community. The grade-level team membership varies by division, but in these meetings, the team seeks to develop the most complete picture of a student and to do this it draws on the collective experience of those who work with the student. This "portraiture" through multiple perspectives opens the door to the development of innovative strategies that draw on the lived experience of each of the student’s many student-teacher relationships. These discussions, while not only useful for addressing issues relevant to a particular student, often generalize to approaches and strategies that benefit a whole group of students. This leads to a deeper and richer educational experience for all students.

In many schools, the involvement of learning specialists and school psychologists on grade-level, or support teams, is reserved for students who have been identified as "in crisis." At LREI, these individuals play an active role in all discussions. Their input is important as it provides another lens through which we can explore how to best meet an individual student’s needs. Beyond being members of the team, they are active members of the wider learning community who make deep and lasting connections with students and who view their work in terms of the shared needs of our learning community.

Each of you will have conferences with a number of teachers next week. It is important to also keep in mind the many individuals with whom you may not speak who, on a daily basis, help to support your child as part of a team that is committed to their success.
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