Today we met as a staff and looked over the new Smarter Balanced Assessment Data that came in. It was a beautiful meeting. Yes, it really was. I know what you’re thinking …
Here’s why it was beautiful. Kindergarten teachers sat with third-grade teachers, first-grade teachers sat with fourth-grade teachers, second-grade teachers sat with fifth-grade teachers. Together we looked at students’ scores. We sorted them in a number of different ways. We talked about the students represented by the numbers.
“This one really could have done better,” remarked a teacher across the room.
“Wow, this one did so well!”
“These two were absent so much last year. I think that really hurt both of them.”
Children were acknowledged. It wasn’t just a test score, it was a child. An important learner from our community of learners. Each child matters. They are so much more than this high stakes test score. They are children with challenges, and siblings and struggles and strengths. Working together we could put the pieces together that have been coming together since Kindergarten. Working together we have a larger picture of each child.
Next we looked at how our classes did overall – what percentage were able to meet or exceed the standards? Our school scored well against the district averages. And still, no one felt satisfied. We want all of our kids to score well on these tests. We want ALL of their beautiful brilliance to shine on through. We want the results of our teaching to show out loud. When a child doesn’t reach the level of understanding we hope for them, doesn’t wind up meeting or exceeding expectations, we are upset.
The beauty of the work we did together today showed in the way colleagues sat with one another, owned ALL of our students as their own, and then sought answers to how to improve the work we do going forward.
Has good work been done? Absolutely.
Is there more work to be done? You bet.
Will we stop until we see every single one moving along, growing and learning at increased rates of mastery? No way!
And we’ll do it together, side by side, student by student, day by day.
Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for a place to share this moment. Click here to read more Slice of Life Stories.