Schools Grading Parents?

Success Academy Parent Investment Card

Education Week published a story last week about how the Success Academies, a charter school network in New York City, grades their parents on their involvement. Success Academies whose founder and CEO is Eva Moskowitz who was on President Donald Trump’s suspected short list for U.S. Secretary of Education.

They wrote:

Success Academy, which is based in New York City, is known as both an academic powerhouse serving mostly low-income, minority students and a prominent adherent to the controversial “no excuses” charter school philosophy, which promotes strict codes of student conduct.

The network began issuing the parent report cards this month.

It’s not uncommon for charter schools to place a premium on parental involvement. Some charters have even gone so far as to mandate that parents volunteer at their children’s school (an issue that got a lot of attention in California relatively recently).

Success Academies describes the Parental Investment cards in their parent handbook this way:

Schools issue parent/guardian Parent Investment Cards throughout the year to share feedback on fulfilling important parent responsibilities. Your scholar simply cannot achieve his or her greatest potential without you. The card will reflect three areas of focus and highlight feedback on a green, yellow, and red scale.

Homework Supervision

What is expected:

You make homework completion and reading a priority at home. Your child completes at least 96% of all regular and vacation homework.

Why this is important:

Effective homework advances a child’s understanding and knowledge. In elementary school, the primary purpose of homework is to foster a love of reading and practice essential skills like spelling words or quick math facts. It also factors into whether a scholar is ready to advance to the next grade. By middle school, homework becomes an essential part of learning by doing and impacts scholars’ GPA. Homework assignments count for 25% of a high school scholar’s course grade and help develop self-discipline and the time-management skills critical for success in college, where almost all work is done outside of class.

School Readiness

What is expected:

Your child attends school everyday and arrives on time and in uniform. Your child has no unexcused absences, tardies, uniform infractions, or suspensions. Your child acts responsibly at school and while in transit to and from school.

Why this is important:

Scholars miss so much learning when they aren’t in school. Each day is packed full, and even being a few minutes late can impact your scholar’s progress. Disruptive behavior takes away from important learning time as well. Understanding the importance of being on time and embodying the honor code will help scholars succeed long after they leave Success Academy. Together, we are helping them become responsible and productive citizens.

Parent Responsiveness and Investment

What is expected:

You respond to all communications (including meeting requests) from your child’s teachers, principal, or school staff within 24 hours —  just as you can expect us to respond to your requests in a timely way. You complete requests (like submitting required scholar forms) by the stated deadline. You attend all required school events and meetings, such as Your Scholar’s Success meetings. You are respectful when interacting with your child’s teachers, principal or any school staff, just as we are respectful to you.

Why this is important:

First and foremost, good communication between school staff and parents and guardians is essential. When issues arise—good or bad— it is important they are addressed in-the-moment to assure scholars are getting the support, reinforcement, or congratulations they need for progress. Second, our community is built on respect. Even if you don’t agree with something happening at school, discussing it from a place of respect allows for progress. Some meetings are required when information is best delivered in person with the opportunity to ask and respond to questions.

Parent Investment Expectations Per Reporting Period  

Homework Supervision (Completion of regular and vacation homework)

Green: Meeting Expectations

  • During the reporting period, my scholar’s homework completion rate was a 96.0% or above.

Yellow: Approaching Expectations

  • During the reporting period, my scholar’s homework completion rate was between 85.1% to 95.9%.

Red: Below Expectations

  • During the reporting period, my scholar’s homework completion rate was an 85.0% or below.

School Readiness

Green: Meeting Expectations

  • During the reporting period, my scholar had: no unexcused absences; and
  • no tardies; and
  • no uniform infractions; and
  • no suspensions.

Yellow: Approaching Expectations

  • During the reporting period, my scholar had: 1 unexcused absence; or
  • 1 tardy; or
  • 1 uniform infraction; and
  • no suspensions.

Red: Below Expectations

  • During the reporting period, my scholar had: 2+ unexcused absences;
  • 2+ uniform infractions; or
  • 2+ tardies; or
  • a suspension.

Parent Responsiveness and Investment

Green: Meeting Expectations

  • During the reporting period, I: responded to all communications within 24 hours; and
  • completed all requests (including forms) on time; and,
  • attended all required meetings; and
  • always showed respect when interacting with members of the school community.

Yellow: Approaching Expectations

  • During the reporting period, I: responded to all but 1 communication within 24 hours; or
  • completed all but 1 request (including forms) on time; or
  • missed 1 required meeting; and
  • always showed respect when interacting with members of the school community.

Red: Below Expectations

  • During the reporting period, I didn’t respond to at least two communications within 24 hours; or
  • didn’t complete at least 2 requests (including forms) on time; or
  • missed at least 2 required meetings; or
  • had disrespectful interactions with members of the school community.

There is no doubt that parental involvement is the number one factor in whether a child will succeed in school. It is commendable for schools to stress and encourage parental involvement. I know when I taught I appreciated parents who were communicative and involved in making sure their students were staying on top of school work.

This is the first time I’ve heard of a school grading parents. I have not seen this with private schools, who typically do have parental expectations, let alone a public school. I don’t think this is the way to go about improving parental involvement. They do not know what is going on at home, as well as, with a parent’s work. The school just put itself in a position of accountability over a parent when it should be the other way around.

Your thoughts?

2 thoughts on “Schools Grading Parents?

  1. My thoughts? I totally agree with you on this. Parents are to me the most important factor in a child’s success but this is way too big brother for me.

  2. I agree with parent’s being the most important influence for the majority of children. I was in a meeting of school officials and they agreed to that as well.

    I assume a specific charter school is optional to the parent’s, so if the parents think that being accountable to the school in this way is valuable, that is their choice, because they have voluntarily put themselves in that position, and can voluntarily withdraw from that position

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