Beginning proficiency level: 4th Grade

Ms. Flint had a friend who is fluent in Spanish translate her letter since some of her students’ families speak Spanish in the home. The letter Ms. Flint sent home was in English on one side and Spanish on the other.

Supporting materials:

Letter to Parents

Conversation with Teacher

Overall rating & analysis

Overall rating: Four BP ratings equal an overall BP rating.

Beginning

Advanced

Exemplary

Strand 1: The number of strategies teacher uses to interact with students’ influencers and the extent to which strategies are customized.

Uses a single, formal method to interact with every student's family

Uses multiple methods and occasions to mobilize Students’ key influencers (e.g., parents, guardians, other relatives, coach, pastor, etc.)

Based on an understanding of individual students and their key influencers, customizes interactions in order to mobilize each students’ key influencers to invest students in working hard toward the Big Goal

Strand 2: The information teacher shares with student influencers, and the extent to which teacher enables student influencers to act on the information.

Provides basic information and respectfully requests help when students are not working hard

Shares knowledge and skills on how the influencers and the teacher can accelerate the students’ progress

Ensures that students’ influencers are equipped to invest and advocate for students beyond this school year, in addition to sharing knowledge and skills on how the influencer and the teacher can work together to accelerate the student's progress

Strand 3: The type of positive information teacher provides influencers about students’ academic progress.

Shares positive news of student performance on an absolute scale

Shares positive news of student performance on a relative scale

Shows influencers how to monitor students’ performance and recognize progress

Strand 4: The extent to which the teacher mobilizes student influencers.

Successfully informs students’ families of basic information

Successfully involves students’ key influencers

Successfully invests students’ key influencers


Analysis: Why did the teacher receive these ratings?

Rating: BPStrand 1: The number of strategies teacher uses to interact with students’ influencers and the extent to which strategies are customized.

Why BP?

Ms. Flint's primary communications with students’ families are at the beginning of the year. She also sends a note home every six weeks, but the bulk of her interactions seem to be in the form of one-way written communications. In her discussion with her colleague, she weakly rationalizes her decision not to reach out proactively to students’ families with home visits and calls.

On the whole, Ms. Flint's communications with students’ families are quite limited and are closer to Beginning Proficiency's description of a teacher using a "single, formal method to interact with students’ family" than to the Advance Proficiency standard requiring that the teacher use "multiple methods and occasions to mobilize students’ key influencers (e.g., parents, guardians, other relatives, coach, pastor, etc.)."

Why not AP?

While Ms. Flint does incorporate more than one method and occasion for communicating with students’ families, after a promising letter at the beginning of the year (where she gives her office and home phone numbers), the observer finds that Ms. Flint does not actually interact with students’ key influencers very often-certainly not "regularly" and through "a variety of methods" as called for by the Advance Proficiency interpretation guides.

Rating: BPStrand 2: The information teacher shares with student influencers, and the extent to which teacher enables student influencers to act on the information.

Why BP?

According to the evidence available, Ms. Flint does provide families with basic information (in her six-week reports and grade sheets) and does occasionally ask for help (with calls home). Her letter is clear, positive and respectful. It is, however, largely procedural and does not refer to specific classroom goals, and we do not have evidence that she becomes more inviting and personal in her communication as the year progresses. Ms. Flint's actions appear "basic" in the sense described by the Beginning Proficiency on Strand Two.

Why not AP?

Ms. Flint's letter does take initial steps toward "sharing knowledge and skills on how the influencers and the teacher can accelerate the students’ progress" (as required by Advanced Proficiency) in that Ms. Flint provides guidance on study habits, how much students should read each night, and what materials students need for class. The value of that "Advanced Proficiency"-like evidence is undermined, however, by Ms. Flint's weak follow-through. After that initial letter, she does not appear to advise students’ families on supporting their child's academic progress.

Rating: BPStrand 3: The type of positive information teacher provides influencers about students’ academic progress.

Why BP?

Ms. Flint's hand-written notes include, apparently, "positive news of student performance on an absolute scale" in that they reflect students’ progress against standards-aligned benchmarks. They are therefore evidence of Beginning Proficient on Strand Three.

Why not AP?

She does not, however, include information for families about students’ relative growth, as required for an Advanced Proficiency designation.

Rating: BPStrand 4: The extent to which the teacher mobilizes student influencers.

Why BP?

While it is somewhat unclear just how involved Ms. Flint's students’ families are, it does appear that she is moderately successful in informing them of students’ basic information (particularly if she is getting the signed notes back). Ms. Flint's actions therefore qualify for a Beginning Proficient rating on Strand Four.

Why not AP?

Students' families and influencers may be informed but do not seem to be involved in the students’ learning, as required by Advanced Proficiency. She admits that she is not getting calls from parents, despite having given out her office and home numbers. These results reflect the lack of proactive out reach in Ms. Flint's approach to students’ families. Ms. Flint does not "create opportunities for influencers to help reinforce the learning that is occurring in class" (interpretation guide for Advanced Proficiency) and so does not warrant an Advanced Proficient rating.