Spotlight on Learning: 10/08/18 Reading Assessment Information
Sun, Oct 7 12:23pm
Redwood Heights Elementary

Friendly Reminder: Upcoming Teacher Planning Minimum Day: TUE, October 30th, 2018 

The Empathy Tool: I care for others. I care for myself.

Empathy is noticing how another person is feeling and being able to understand what they might be feeling. Empathy is caring about someone else. Empathy is the root of tolerance, kindness, and forgiveness. Turned inward this becomes care and understanding for oneself.

Personal Space Tool: I have a right to my space and so do you

The Personal Space Tool addresses the need for clear physical boundaries. Many disruptive behaviors at school and home are a result of Personal Space or physical boundary "violations". How one stands in a line, sits in a chair at a table, sits on the rug in a group, and even how loudly a person speaks are all examples of how Personal Space affects us. This tool gives children the vocabulary to talk about "space" around them. Our sense of safety, discomfort, or well-being is affected by body language, gestures and voice tone, and volume.


The Inside Scoop on Reading Levels

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

Three times a year teachers administer the Fountas & Pinnell (F&P) reading assessment to determine your child’s reading level. During the one-on-one assessment your child will read one or more leveled books to their teacher, who keeps track of the number and nature of your child’s errors. Then the teacher will ask your child comprehension questions, engaging them in a brief discussion of the text. All of the data the teacher collects from this assessment is then used to determine your child’s current reading level.

Students are assigned two levels: an “Instructional Level” and an “Independent Level.” The instructional level is the level at which children can read with help. At school, this is the level of text students will read during small group or one-on-one instruction. The independent level is the level of text students can read on their own. Typically, but not always, a student’s independent level is one level lower than their instructional level.

It’s important to note that, of course, students progress on a gradual continuum. If they are assessed at Level B in September and then Level C in November, it doesn’t mean they should wait until November to start reading Level C books. They likely reached Level C much sooner than when they were assessed. This is a wonderful opportunity to work with students on taking control of their own learning and progress (building “agency”) by constantly monitoring and reflecting on their level. Once their books start feeling easy, they should start choosing the next level. They should not wait for the teacher to tell them they are at the next level.

The reading levels also give students the feel and awareness of the level of difficulty of a book. By reading so many explicitly leveled books, they gain the ability to tell whether a book is approximately their reading level, too easy, or too hard. This gives students another opportunity for agency. If they are reading books at home, or at a library, that don’t have a sticker on them noting the level, they will regardless be able to determine at least if the book is too easy, too hard, or just right.

Lastly, a student’s current reading level is NOT a label. It does not characterize THEM. It characterizes their CURRENT READING SKILLS, which are rapidly changing and expanding. How students think about their level is determined by how teachers and parents TALK about it. Reading levels are a continuum on which students are constantly progressing. The reading level is a tool, a guideline, to help students choose books and read books they can understand and thus enjoy. It’s a tool with which to watch, and celebrate, growth. It’s a tool to help teachers PERSONALIZE learning and meet each student’s reading needs. And in it lies the valuable lesson that, as each child in a class is their own unique person, each child in the class is somewhere different with their reading skills. We don’t compare. A child who recognizes without shame that another student is currently reading at a higher level than them is a child with confidence. A confident child can see that other student as someone who could help them. And a child who recognizes without arrogance that another student is currently reading at a lower level than them is a confident child, who can offer help. As with everything, we can use this opportunity to help students develop a growth mindset--the idea that we are not born with a fixed amount of “smart,” but rather, we build our intelligence through learning and hard work.

By the END of each grade level, the goal is for students to be reading at the following INSTRUCTIONAL levels (or higher).

Kindergarten: D

1st Grade: J

2nd Grade: M

3rd Grade: P

4th Grade: S

5th Grade: V

Don’t hesitate to contact your child’s teacher, Ms. Ellison, or Ms. Weissman with any questions regarding your child’s reading level or reading levels in general.

Up and coming: Next week we’ll send examples of text at each level, as well as a resource that allows to find out the level of a given book.


Progress Reports

The teachers have just finished their first six-week instructional cycle. The first six weeks were focused on establishing classroom culture, routines, and expectations, while embedding academics and assessment.

In 2-3 weeks we will be sending progress reports home. These progress reports are informal, created by RHS, and do not go in your child’s permanent record. Their purpose is to apprise you of where your child stands at the moment, so that we can all best support your child to excel, and so that there are no surprises once parent conferences and report cards come around. The following information will be on your child’s progress report:

  • F&P Instructional Reading Level
  • SRI Score (Reading, Grades 3-5)
  • ST Math Progress
  • Lexia Level
  • A few SEL competencies
  Shoo the Flu will be at our school on Tuesday, October 9th. The flu vaccine will be given at school, during school hours by trained nurses and supervised nursing students. Participation is optional. If you want your student to receive the flu vaccine at Redwood Heights complete the consent form that was distributed by your teachers. Please submit the completed form to our front office or to your teacher. If you need a form or have more questions, please see Ms. Margaret in the front office. 

Principal Cynthia Bagby-Ellison - - 510-531-6644 

Attached:  The 2018-19 Annual Notice of Uniform Complaint Procedures (English) /Board Policy 1312.3 - Uniform Complaint Procedures and Level I Complaint Form (English)

BP – Bullying Complaint Procedures (English ) and  form are in the Redwood Heights Main Office.  Spanish versions of these documents are in the RHS main office.