Communicating Student Progress — Family Survey Update

Last August, we shared the results of our 2018 Family Satisfaction Survey and noted that while student-led conferences, report cards and portfolio shares all received high marks in the survey, the narrative comments showed a number of parents wanted to better understand how their child is progressing. In response to this feedback, we spent time with parents and faculty exploring our current practices and identifying opportunities to advance/enhance our communication. Below, Lower School Head Kelly Nelson and Middle School Head Jay Briar, provide an overview of this work. 

Dear Sheridan Families, 

Over the course of the 2018-2019 school year, we took a deep dive into the way Sheridan communicates to families about their child’s progress. We reflected on feedback from the 2017-2018 family satisfaction survey, held small parent focus groups, and made time for faculty to revisit current practices while internally piloting new ones to gather more data on best practices.

Below are some of the exciting things we’ve introduced or have reflected on in response to your feedback and the feedback of our faculty. We look forward to continuing this work in the 2019-2020 school year:

  • Literacy continuum: The Lower School will be incorporating the literacy continuum in parent-teacher conferences for K – 4.
  • Learning management system: A new Learning Management System (LMS) will be introduced next year for families in Grades 5-8 that will put student progress communications all in one place
  • Conference dates: Fall conferences will be held later in October to allow teachers more time to get to know students individually and communicate about progress.
  • Conference participation: We are reviewing student conferences at each grade level to assess the right balance between student participation and attendance and parent time with teachers. 
  • Report card enhancements: Faculty devoted staff meeting time to reviewing report card writing practices to ensure narrative comments are personal and constructive. We anticipate better explanations of significant increases and decreases in assessed scores, especially related to letter grades in the Middle School, next year. 
  • Seesaw pilot: Several teachers in the Lower School internally piloted Seesaw to explore different ways to communicate student learning and progress through portfolio work. We will continue to pilot Seesaw in 2019-2020, expanding it to more classes and seeking parent feedback.
  • Middle School evaluations: The Middle School identified specific times to evaluate student performance across subjects so that advisors can intentionally check-in with parents.

Thank you to everyone who shared feedback with us over the course of the year. Your insights have been invaluable. 

If you have any questions about this work, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We look forward to wrapping up a wonderful school year and thinking ahead for next year! 

Sincerely,

Kelly & Jay

P.S. The 2019 Family Satisfaction Survey will be shared in next week’s News & Notes (5/20). Please be sure to complete it as the feedback you provide is incredibly important for our planning. The more voices we hear, the better!