On the first day of school, pencils were sharpened and brand new assignment books and Google calendars were blank, and no one had experienced any hard work – other than, perhaps, getting out of bed. Now here we are almost two months later. Pencils have been dulled and re-sharpened many times, assignment books and Google Classroom calendars are filled with homework, tests, quizzes, and projects, and I assume – I hope – that everyone has had moments of hard work.  These things are all good.

But now that we are all more than just a few steps into the journey of the school year, how do we think about the lofty goals of what we are trying to accomplish – especially when we are all so busy. Big ideas and accomplishments may be important, but before we can get to them we have homework to do and practice or rehearsal to go to and a million other things to do first.

That’s why, at the halfway point in the term, teachers at Park take the time to stop and calculate interim grades and write interim comments to give students important feedback. And that’s why students need to take the time when these comments arrive home to read them carefully.

What can you and your children do when you read through the narrative comments? Three things.

  1. Find the good. It’s there in every single comment – I promise.
  2. Find the things to work on. That’s in every single comment, too – I promise.
  3. Have your child make a plan. How exactly will he or she keep doing the good and how exactly will he or she do the thing or things teachers are asking him or her you to work on?

This last step is the most important and, of course, the hardest, and it may require a conversation with a teacher or advisor. Your child may even have to ask for help and that can be difficult to do – but is so important to learn.

Interim comments are filled with suggestions and ideas, and these suggestions and ideas are the ways that you students can go from possibility to accomplishment. Teachers are giving their students a roadmap to follow to make the most of the term.