Parents & Guardians

How can I help my child?

Every year, parents ask me how they can help their children be successful in school. Below, I give my direct and sincere advice. My students know that I don’t usually sugarcoat things for them. They receive honest answers when they ask honest questions. Please read this entire page if you're serious about helping your child succeed in school.

Help Your Child Become an Attendance HERO!

(Here, Every day, Ready, & On time)

It is very important that your child arrives to school on time, stays the entire day, and does not miss many school days -- especially if ze is struggling academically. Although school starts at 8:10 AM, please help your child get to school by 8:00 AM so that ze can do the classroom entry tasks, turn in assignments, get their supplies ready, communicate with me a specific need, etc. Please also try to not pull your child out of school early for appointments or to beat the traffic. We only have 180 days of school, which is less than half of the calendar year. That is why I strongly encourage you to take trips/vacations during the scheduled breaks (e.g. winter, spring) instead of on school days. If your child is struggling in any classes, I would advise not being on vacation during the scheduled conference weeks. To help you plan a vacation, the district calendar is included at the bottom of this page.

Assignments for Absent Students

If you absolutely must take a trip/vacation on school days, you might consider asking for your child’s assignments ahead of time. In the past, parents have requested to get their children’s assignments in advance because they are going on vacation or after their children have been home sick for a couple days. While I appreciate parents’ attempt to prevent their children from falling behind in class, the students’ work either sits down in the office 80% of the time after I have compiled the work for them. Then, students or I have to go retrieve the materials from the office. Please pick up the work in a timely manner. Do not ask for the work to be put in the office if you cannot pick it up. If you do pick up your child’s work, please give it to them right away and/or don’t lose it. Students have to pay Hues (our classroom currency) for extra copies of assignments. If your child requests work in advance, ze needs to complete it. It's rather annoying when the work is requested days before an absence and then the work doesn't get done.

Staying Caught Up on Assignments

I use Remind daily to communicate with my students and their families. Remind is a text-messaging and email system. All personal information remains completely confidential. Neither other parents nor I will see your phone number. For more information, visit www.remind.com. I will do my best to notify you about upcoming tests, due dates of big projects, volunteer opportunities, announcements, school/class events, etc. I encourage you and/or your child to sign up as soon as possible. I value your time and support, so I try to only send important messages – usually 2-5 text messages each week. I would be filled with joy and very grateful if all students and their parents enrolled in this free and helpful service. When you receive a Remind message, don’t assume your child has completed an assignment. Ask to see the assignment. If your child says ze already turned it in, check Skyward soon after to check that ze did. If you choose not to sign up for Remind, please help your child develop and maintain a system (e.g. planner) for recording and remembering important information.

Missing Assignments

Parents contact me multiple times a week asking about their children’s missing assignments. They want to know what is missing, what each assignment is, when it was due, etc. It is very time-consuming to reply to these emails and phone calls. Please refer to the course syllabus about routine assignments (e.g. reading log, vocab, geography challenge). Most of the recurring assignment materials can be found on our class website.

Family Access for Parents

For your child’s complete list of missing assignments, please consult Skyward. To access Skyward, click the link to the right. If you don’t have access to Skyward yet, please call or email TVM’s main office. Or, you can use your child’s login information. Students should have their usernames and passwords memorized. If not, it should be in the Google Doc titled “Skyward Password.” Once caught up, please encourage your child to stay caught up by turning in assignments on time. In addition, if your child is missing a couple assignments, ask your child first about them before contacting me.

Reading Comprehension

Reading Log

Some parents express concern about their children’s low reading comprehension. We discuss strategies and practice skills in class. At home, you can support this learning by encouraging students to read 20-30 minutes a day. I suggest letting students read anything that interests them (e.g. novels, magazines, nonfiction books with pictures, graphic novels, comics, song lyrics, world record books). If you want your child to become a better reader, ze needs to find value and purpose in reading texts that matter to them. I would even suggest that students write, as well, to become better readers. Please ask to see your child's reading log once in a while and sign it before it's die. Reading logs are two-week assignments due on Fridays.

Missing Assignments? Not Happy With Your Child's Grade(s)?

You'd be surprised how many parents tell me something along these lines, "My child says ze turned in that assignment; why haven't you graded it yet?" I usually grade assessments/assignments within minutes after they've been turned in, so if it's missing on Skyward, it's usually because A) the student hasn't finished it or turned it in or B) it didn't have a name on it, so it's in the "No Name" basket. Please encourage your child to search her/his backpack, binder, cubby, etc. for the missing assignment before contacting me. I've also heard parents claim, "My child is an A/B student, but ze has a C in your class. This is unacceptable. We need a conference!" Again, if you aren't impressed by your child's grade(s), talk to your child about it first. Refer to Skyward's online gradebook to see why your child has the grade ze does.

Incomplete assignment? Don't count on an A.

Late assignment? 10-50% penalty.

Missing assignment? That's a zero.

In ELA class, all reading comprehension assessments are open book. Students are encouraged to take their time and to continuously refer back to the text to find answers to comprehension questions and cite textual evidence. There is also a vocabulary assignment and corresponding quiz every two weeks. The quiz is usually on Fridays. Refer to the syllabus or class calendar for specific dates. The vocabulary lists are in the “Resources” section of this website. There’s a positive correlation between completing the assignment and doing well on the quiz.

In History, all chapter tests are also open book. Furthermore, students may use their notes and work with their classmates on the tests, so your child should pass if ze is putting forth the effort. Again, ask your child to see one of the graded assessments before contacting me about your child's low grades on them.

Other Ways to Help

There are other things you can do it at home to support your child. I know this is random, but it would be incredibly helpful if you had your child memorize your phone number(s) and home address. It is shocking how many 6th graders don't know these things. In addition, I recommend helping your child create an organization system that works for her/him and then checking in once in a while with her/him about it. It could be color-coded, involve folders and/or tabs, hole-punching materials, etc. In middle school, students need to start developing independence, but they still need parental support. Please check in with your child a few times a week about how school is going, ask to see their work, see if they need any school supplies (especially pencils), and check Skyward for their grades and missing assignments. Report card grades at the end of the semester should not be a surprise to anyone. Lastly, I recommend that students use textbook covers. Their textbooks look identical without them, so it isn't at all a surprise that nearly all misplaced/missing textbooks don't have book covers.

District Calendar

2019-2020 District Calendar