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SUPO Newsletter December 2023

Hope ...the rest of the story

My son had no idea that he had scored so high that what his teacher was teaching at his grade level would not have increased his score. No third-grade teacher is expected to teach fourth and fifth-grade standards. He was too innocent of the NWEA hustle that most middle schooler's know. His older brother later told him, “Everyone knows that you don’t try to pass in the fall on purpose, so your score goes up in the winter when you actually try.”

My younger son wasn’t alone in his self-assessment based on assessment data. I remember sitting on my bed, surrounded by tests and sobbing. Most of my students had received a failing score on a test that I was positive I had prepared them for. It was like getting punched in the stomach 15 times, one punch for every child that received a failing score. I felt like a failure. I didn’t see my lesson, the strategies, students’ prior knowledge, or the conditions of the day. I just saw me and the clear evidence that I wasn’t making a difference. It’s hard for light to cut through that kind of darkness. Students make mistakes; they are not mistakes. Students fail to meet objectives; they are not failures. The same goes for teachers, leaders, and families.

We all need hope. Counteract the cold days and colder moments when things don’t go the way we planned with the warmth of truth and hope. I told my son the truth about how NWEA works, their value, and my love. Is there someone in your building who needs help counteracting thoughts of failure, shame, and hopelessness? Fortify their foundation with the truth that they matter. They are not a failure. They have something valuable to offer. They are not alone. Bring the sunshine back to your building. The light, warmth, and compassion will serve as one of your greatest tools for student and staff retention.

by Chantra Williams


School/University Partnership Office
Office Location: Gilbertson Hall
Phone: (989) 964-4623