To help all students fulfill their potential, we draw heavily upon the research of world-renowned Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck. Her research over the past 25 years indicates the key to building a growth mindset is seeing intelligence as something that is developed incrementally, rather than being fixed. Her findings also emphasize how important the giving and receiving of constructive feedback is towards the development of a growth mindset, as feedback makes us stronger and smarter.
Both our progress reports and parent-teacher conferences aim to provide students and parents with specific ways in which students can grow, both in and outside the classroom. At this early point in the year, subject teachers have used ongoing assessment and dialogue with students to identify areas in which students are doing well and areas upon which they can improve. The Adviser report, which is issued to parents at the end of this month, uses a similar approach, but focuses more on the development of the whole person.
Dweck emphasizes that growth is rooted in a sense of being challenged and nurtured. Both areas should be an important part of tomorrow’s parent-teacher dialogue. Teachers should be able to provide some specific examples of how they plan on stretching and supporting your child’s growth in a particular subject. Along those lines, here are some guidelines we’ve shared in the past, to help you and your child get the most from progress reports and parent-teacher conferences.
First, use progress reports as a tool, not an end in themselves. In other words, focus on what’s working for a child and what can be improved, instead of looking at any number in isolation.
Second, approach your child’s teachers as peers and partners. Our mutual goal is to help your child be successful; Greenwood is a school where teachers really care.
Third, recognize that you know your child best. Share your knowledge and experience about what motivates them or has worked in other parts of their lives. Insights like these can be incredibly valuable for us.
Fourth, talk with teachers about how you might be able to support your child at home. All of this goes a long way toward our shared vision of helping your kids happily develop in every part of their lives.