Notes from the Principal's Desk: October 30, 2018

Yesterday, we were able to hold the rescheduled Cathedral Golf Open. I would like to thank Mr. Beard, Mr. Grimm, and all of the volunteers, sponsors, and players for putting the tournament together. There is a lot of work that goes into making an event like this a success, and it would not be possible without the support of our wonderful CASPA community.

This Friday, the faculty and staff will participate in our annual retreat. This year, we visit the Shrine of St. Anthony, where Fr. Eric de la Pena, the new Director of the Shrine, will act as our facilitator. We are looking forward to this quiet time to reflect on this year’s theme of “We are all Created for Good Works.” 

For the past several weeks, I have taken the time to talk about student-led conferences. In previous posts, I discussed the portfolio contents, the parent's role, and the teacher's role during a student-led conference. Today, I would like to talk about the student’s role in student led conferences.

One of the primary goals of a student-led conference is for students to become advocates for themselves and their own learning. By this time of the school year, students have begun to compile content for their portfolios. Soon they will choose a few samples of their work that reflect areas of strength and opportunities for improvement. The students will work with the classroom teacher to draft an agenda for the conference, select work examples for their portfolio, complete self-evaluation checklists, and draft academic and/or behavioral goals for the remainder of the year.

A challenging task for some students is maintaining an organized portfolio as it is getting assembled. If at any time a student does not understand a teacher’s expectations for the portfolio, he or she must remember to ask the teacher for clarification. Teachers will also be sharing examples of effective portfolios with their students. Another challenging area for students may be the temptation to only show parents their very best work. We encourage the students to share examples of success and areas of growth. The idea of the student-led conference is for the student to communicate clearly their progress and academic growth with their parents. Selecting only the best work examples does not provide a clear picture for how a student has grown over time.

As the conference date draws near, teachers will model the process of the conferenceand give students time to practice in class prior to the conference. Students will practice with their teacher and their peers to help prepare them to lead the conference and ease any nerves. It is also important to remember that the conference is not an oral assessment, presentation, or performance. It is a conversation about a student’s growth. Students can use note cards, notebooks, or other tools to help them remember their reflections and communicate during the conference.

Finally, we look forward to seeing everyone at tomorrow’s Halloween parade beginning at 8:15am in the school circle. Please be sure not to park in the school circle. Dress your children warmly, as it will surely be a bit brisk tomorrow morning!

God bless,
Michael Wright