Parents of Ring Elementary School students are being offered the opportunity to experience a condensed version of a day in the life of their children.
As part of a series designed to inform parents about recent changes in teaching and learning methods, the school provided a dozen second-grade parents a glimpse into a 30-minute version of their children's six-and-a-half-hour school days on Friday.
The parents met with a team of second-grade teaching staff, who broke down a typical day into segments based on subject and activity. Parents were also briefly instructed on different methods used by teachers to encourage students to think critically and show their work in light of the new curriculum modules of the Common Core Learning Standards.
Alexis Singleton, a Ring Elementary School parent, works on a math problem utilizing new problem-solving strategies being implemented in schools under the Common Core Learning Standards.
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According to Marcie Centi, a second-grade teacher, the information session is intended to strengthen the bond between school and home in the way students learn and complete their assignments.
"We wanted to ease the parents' fears a little bit because this new curriculum is very challenging," Centi said. "So we wanted to give (parents) the base and the foundation they need to be able to help their child in the same method that we've been doing in school. We've gotten a lot of feedback from parents saying that they are frustrated with math problems, so we wanted to give them a hand so it's not a struggle each night."
Principal Connie Foster stressed the significance of the role parents can play in their own children's education, and these information sessions serve to equip them with the tools necessary to fulfill that role successfully.
"Parents are very important in education," Foster said. "We always tell parents that they're the child's first teacher. So if they don't understand what is going on in schools and how to support it, then we're lacking a great resource. We wanted to be able to inform them so they can understand why we're doing what we're doing, and to help them understand how to do it so children can have their questions answered at home as well as school."
Alexis Singleton, a parent in attendance, said she has embraced her role as "first educator" and is grateful for the opportunity to build upon the education her child receives in the classroom.
"I think the teachers are giving us great resources, and it's my job to learn them for myself and build on them the best I can," she said. "I thought it was great that the second-grade teachers put this together for us. It's been a very meaningful experience, and it's helpful to learn just what your child is up against. This is a new way of thinking, but it's known to be the best way of learning; and I want to help my kids be very good at it."
Those who attended the session also received a DVD of materials to assist parents with utilizing the same teaching concepts as the teachers themselves. Centi said the content included on the DVD was selected based on feedback the teachers had received from parents regarding their difficulties in comprehending the new strategies.
"(The DVD) has a reading chapter in it that walks through what it looks like to read with your child - asking questions, stopping and thinking about the book - but the majority is based on the math strategies," Centi said. "There is a chapter for each one of the math strategies, and it walks you through them as if you were sitting at a table with me and watching me teach your child in a step-by-step approach."
Foster said Ring has hosted sessions for parents of students in other grade levels, and is planning on holding more throughout the school year.