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New Year, Same Focus By Dr. Latasha Schraeder

District testing is typically administered in January after students return from winter break.  The purpose of these assessments is to monitor students’ progress since the beginning of the school year in reading and math.  While it is important to monitor student progress, do not place too much emphasis on these results.  The results are simply data. If a student has not made the progress expected, teachers can identify which skills to focus on for the remainder of the year.  If students have exceeded the expected progress, teachers can then provide students with enrichment skills. 

In January, the winter weather forces us to stay indoors. It is tempting to allow your children to spend extra time on social media, playing video games or watching television.  I challenge you to offer alternative activities such as card or board games or reading.  There are also many computerized math and reading games that allow students to practice fundamental skills.  Many of these games are free or very inexpensive.  

Finally, since we are nearing Black History month and the weather is very cold, it is the perfect time to watch some biographies of African-Americans who have made significant historical contributions.  I would recommend The Butler, 42, The Help, Selma, and Becoming. Grab your popcorn and hot cocoa and settle in for an evening on the couch with the family.