The purpose of this letter is to say, don’t panic, IACS has got your child covered. The first few weeks here at IACS can be a bit overwhelming. Believe me you're not alone. Hopefully, you have been able to take advantage of all the opportunities available for you and your child to see the school, meet the teachers and begin to feel a level of comfort both socially and with the environment here at IACS. Being the new parent here of a 5th grader, I have done my fair share of panic and am here to shed some light on those uncertain first few weeks of school.
My first suggestion is to familiarize your self with the school website. Here you can order lunch, download all forms, check curriculum and grading. You can catch up on the news and familiarize yourself with the Community Association IACA. Your child’s classes are outlined in the Current Parents & Students section, under course webpages, middle school, under 5/6, is where the classes are laid out and the documents that describe that class curriculum. Here you will also find rubrics. Rubrics will give you a list that your child will need to achieve to become proficient in that particular area. This is something your child will accomplish over time. You can download these rubrics and curriculum outlines and they will help you to track his accomplishments as he makes his way through novice and apprentice into proficiency in that area. Also, you find rubrics that do not pertain to your child yet but will come into play as the year progresses. You can explore all the subjects your child will be taking here in this section but be aware though you need to be looking at your child’s schedule, they will take science and social studies but not at the same time in the school year.
Now your child begins to fill up that 3 ring binder you bought him and filling out the agenda that is to become his lifeline to his schoolwork, projects and homework for the school year. My first glance into my sons’ binder made me cringe. Here is where my panic started. If he can’t keep a notebook straight how is he going to get through all these subjects, projects and homework? He had all the tabs in there and filled out but there were papers upside down and inside out and nothing was in the appropriate place within the tabs. Believe it or not, this is OK. Your child’s teachers will periodically go through the binder with them and help them keep it organized. Learning organization skills and scheduling becomes an integrate part of your child’s learning process. He or she is beginning to do projects that span out multiple weeks or will bring homework home that is involved and is due in a week or two. The skills that need to come into play here is organization and time management, as well as, study habits. At first, you will probably play a role in organizing that binder and seeing that ample time is available for those weekly assignments and projects but after a while you should feel comfortable allowing your child to schedule the time he or she needs to do the homework assignments and projects. It may take a while but they will learn organization and time management.
My second panic was finding out that the assignments written in his agenda might not be all that should be written there. It took a while for him to understand that writing down that his journaling was due next Tuesday on today’s date was a good thing but that he needed to write it on the day it was due and also maybe two days before it was due to make sure he had scheduled time for that work to be done. At times, assignments were not written down at all. In the first few weeks I became very good friends with the homework hotline. This hotline is provided for 5th and 6th graders so that they can check with the hotline that they have the correct homework assignments. It is also good to have your child collect a few email address or phone numbers of other students they can call in a pinch to verify that he or she is on track. The first few times a quiz or chapter test is coming up there is no need to panic. Look in the binder most likely there are notes that the teacher has specifically identified what the child needs to study for that test. I emailed his homebase teacher with any unanswered questions I had and she either answered my question or sent me in the right direction to help me out.
Your child will have an ILP (Individual Learning Plan) which you, together with his teacher and your child will discuss their goals. Your child’s homebase teacher will schedule this time with you. Be sure to attend Back to School night for more insight into your child’s education and what he will be learning while at IACS. You will also receive a user name and password for the X2 database which is used to check your child’s attendance, grades and assignments.
The teachers understand that the children are new to changing classes, keeping agendas and studying for tests over a period of time. They know that the child may not be familiar with journaling and other study methods that may be introduced. The point is that it is all alright. They do not need to know it all at once and they do not need to be proficient right off the bat. What they need from you is a bit of time, help and support as the transition into the IACS world. Be patient most everything is revealed in the first month. Have a smooth transition and enjoy the fact that your child is in great hands.