Administrator's Monthly Update

Peggy Larson

District Administrator - Peggy Larson

September Update

The school year is off and running! It has been a fabulous start. We greatly appreciate everyone’s cooperation in regards to safely getting to and from school with all of the construction. A shout out to our local police department - they have been extremely helpful!

Last month I talked about the first five of ten tips to help make your child(rens) learning more visible. This taken from the work of Ron Ritchhart. In short, they were: 1. Name and Notice Thinking. 2. Develop a Growth Mindset. 3. Challenge but Don’t Rescue. 4. What Questions Did You Ask Today? And 5. Focus on the Learning Over the Work.

It is important for all us to engage in our children’s, our grandchildren’s, our neighbor’s, and/or friends’ children’s learning. Below are some additional tips to get kids talking about their school day:

6. Encourage Connections. Students encounter new information constantly. To learn and make sense of this information they must connect it to previous knowledge and integrate it with their experience. Ask questions of connection and encourage the creation of metaphors, similes, comparisons and contrasts when talking about the topics your child is studying or exploring independently.

7. Support Your Child in Arguing Effectively and Persuasively. A recent study in the journal Child Development (J. Allen, 2012) showed that teenagers who argued constructively with their parents by building a case and providing evidence for their position were more able to resist peer pressure to use drugs than were students from more authoritarian households. Researchers found such arguments were training grounds for teens that enabled them to learn to speak up, voice an opinion, and use evidence.

8. Provide Time to Pursue Passions. In the movie Race to Nowhere (2010), producer/director Vicki Abeles documents how the pressure to succeed on tests is too often robbing children of rich learning experiences, causing stress-related problems, disengaging students, disrupting home life, and leading to wide-scale cheating. One argument the film makes is that teens need the time and space to pursue their passions and interests. Parents must make sure these passions, which may turn into life callings, are not squeezed out of their child’s life. Pay attention to your child’s learning and passions outside of school and make time for them.

9. Make Your Own Thinking Visible. The Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky said, “Children grow into the intellectual life around them.” You are a model for your child of what it means to be a thinker and a learner. Model your own interests, passions, curiosity, reflection, learning, and thinking for your child. Make your own thinking visible to them as a model.

10. What Makes You Say That? This simple question is the “killer app” for parents and teachers. By simply asking, “What makes you say that?”, in a curious and non- judgmental tone after someone has given a response, we are able to get a window into the thinking behind that person’s initial response. Teachers in Sweden referred to this as the magic question, because of how much it was able to reveal about students’ thinking. The reasoning behind the response often tells us much more than the response itself.

I shared all ten tips in my August e-newsletter, along with information regarding the start of school, important dates, facility planning update etc. If you don’t receive my e-newsletter and would like to, please contact me at 920 582 5802 or email me at

As always, the school board and I are committed to keeping the community informed about the District. If you ever have questions, feel free to contact me (contact info above). I am looking forward to seeing you at upcoming school events.

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