The Absolute Best School Climate Blogging (This Week): More Than Scores Edition

By Evie Blad — March 13, 2015 1 min read
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Happy Friday, Rules readers.

Before I share some links with you, I’d like to highlight this photo that’s been circulating on Twitter this week. It’s of a letter to students, apparently sent by a British primary school, to accompany their test scores.

The letter reminds students that “the scores you get will tell you something, but they will not tell you everything.”

“The people who create these tests and score them do not know each of you—the way your teachers do, the way I hope to, and certainly not the way your families do,” the school’s administrator writes in the letter. It goes on to list all sorts of things students do to set themselves apart, like learning other languages, taking care of siblings, and writing poetry.

What are schools in the United States doing to balance academic challenges with affirmations of students’ existing strengths? It’s a good starting point for conversations about school climate.

And now for some other good links about school climate and student well-being I found this week.

Are kids getting left behind by social change?

If it takes a village to raise a child, the prognosis for America's children isn't good: In recent years, villages all over America, rich and poor, have deteriorated as we've shirked collective responsibility for our kids." —Sarah Sparks covers "Our Kids," a book about poor students, social divisions, and collective responsbility.

‘The root of the problem’

We see a lot of bad news, or we have a lot of problems. So seldomly do we ever get a chance to fix the root of the problem. I saw the school policy as being unjust, but I saw the root of the trouble was car trouble." —When an Oregon community realized a young boy was being punished for tardies caused by unreliable transportation, they sought to fix the problem.

What about the girls?

Dozens of big-city districts are ramping up an array of similar new programs that focus specifically on improving the academic and social-emotional outcomes for boys of color—widely praised efforts that are also drawing concerns over whether girls of color are being unfairly left behind." —As districts respond to calls to target programs at boys of color, there are increasing concerns about violations of laws like Title IX, Corey Mitchell reports.

It’s not easy to address truancy...

Students miss school for many reasons, and a thoughtful approach is necessary to address the underlying causes of poor attendance. Unfortunately, the District's current efforts to increase school attendance are not guided by evidence and ultimately fail students." —Despite new efforts to improve attendance, D.C. public schools still face great challenges, including challenges with implementing student supports required under a new law.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Rules for Engagement blog.