Notes from the Principal's Desk: November 6, 2018

This morning, we held our second Open House of the school year. Thank you to Mrs. Diemer and all of the faculty/staff, volunteers, and students who made today such an excellent experience for our visitors. Open House days are special times at Cathedral as we “share the good” and invite potential new families to learn more about the school and our community. I believe our 30+ families had an excellent look into life at Cathedral. Thank you all!

This past Friday, the faculty and staff had an opportunity to go on retreat at the Shrine of St. Anthony in Ellicott City. The day was well spent: listening to several sessions with Fr. Eric de la Peña, attending Mass together on All Souls Day, and providing a chance for us to have some quiet reflection time. We were grateful for this time to come together and grow stronger as a community. 

We look forward to Homecoming Weekend this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. If you have not purchased tickets to the Bull & Oyster Roast yet, I encourage you to do so as soon as possible. Online registration closes tomorrow! The Bull & Oyster Roast is a great event where school parents, parishioners, school alumni, and friends of Cathedral can reconnect and enjoy time in fellowship. 

Over the past several weeks I have used this space to speak about Cathedral’s transition to student-led conferences. This week I would like spend some time talking about parent roles in the student-led conference.

Traditionally, Cathedral has held a typical parent/teacher conference. In these types of conferences, parents are used to listening to teacher speak about the student’s performance and behavior. What is missing in these meetings, however, is perhaps the most important element of student learning: the student! If we as a community are to support and push our students, we must bring them into conversation when discussing their learning. 

Some parents might find it difficult listening to their student rather than asking the teacher for clarification or explanations. During the student-led conference, the teacher acts as a facilitator while the student leads the conference. It is important to remember that during student-led conferences, parents should focus the conversation on their children and reflect on their work with them. When looking at work samples and actively listening to their child’s reflections, parents can then ask how they can help and what their child needs from them in order to meet with success.

We urge parents to come to the conference prepared to ask questions focused on the study environment at home and a student’s classroom efforts. The purpose of asking questions like this is so that parents and students can develop strategies together which are consistent and sustainable long after the conference has concluded. A beneficial effect is that parents can become more open about their child’s opportunity for growth as well as take part in the goal setting process. When parents embrace the student-led conference idea, children take ownership for their own learning, develop resilience, and become self-advocates for their own learning. Educators have a saying, “The day you plant the seed is not the day you eat the fruit.” We believe that student-led conferences are one aspect that helps cultivate within students the tools they need to be successful and life-long learners.

See you at the Bull Roast and Homecoming weekend!
God Bless,
Michael Wright