Letter Home To Algebra Parents

Greetings,
  Excuse the mass e-mail but it seemed to be the most efficient way to contact all of you.  For those of you who don’t know me, I’m your child’s Algebra 1 teacher – you gave me your e-mail as part of the very first assignment. I’m writing you to fill you in on what’s going on in the classroom.

  Some of the students are doing very well and it is largely because they are doing the work and that has prepared them to perform well on the tests and quizzes.  Similarly, the ones who are doing little to no work are lost when the quizzes roll around – their grade suffers from both the zero for the assignment preceding the quiz and the low quiz score itself.  I hope that this cause-and-effect scenario is one of the lessons that the students take away from the class – if they prepare themselves adequately, good scores on tests and quizzes usually follow.

  Up until now I have given many opportunities to make up work – some have taken advantage of this while others have not.  Especially for my failing students, something has to change.  For the rest of this quarter, please encourage your student to stay after school to make up assignments on Monday or Tuesday afternoons (generally until about 4:30).  This will allow me to give more individual attention (versus the 40 students in class) as well as allow them to try a different setting to complete some of the work – for those who are failing, the regular classroom and “on their own” has not yielded much success.  The benefit of the after school sessions is both “getting the material” and getting credit for the work they make up.  Mastering the work so far is critical for later topics as most lessons build on the previous ones.

  For those parents whose students have a C or better, congratulate your child and encourage them to stay current with their work.  For those with D or F students, PLEASE do everything you can to encourage a change in behavior now.  In my 15 years of teaching I have found a poor first progress report grade is usually an indicator of the poor first quarter grade and of a poor semester grade.   Changing direction is possible but it requires a concentrated effort by the student and constant coaching by the parent and teacher to maintain this new level of concentration.  Four to eight afternoons in my class may not completely change things but it is an achievable goal over then next month that can put a student back on track.

   This offer of after school help has been open to my students since the beginning of the school year and several students have taken advantage of it.  If your student is not doing as well as you like, it is probably time to make them take advantage of it.

   Back to school night is on Thursday and I’d love to see you there.  This is a time to talk generally about what is going on in class.  If you’d like to talk specifically about your child’s performance, please e-mail, call, or set up a parent teacher conference.

   Thanks,
     Mr. Taylor
     510-501-0379

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