Today's Lesson

In our experience we have met 2 types of parents; parents looking for the best school (‘best’ based on a set of criteria predetermined well before they speak to us). And - the other type of parent.  Parents who are determined to find the best school for their child.


If you are the first type of parent, best of luck to you on your search. We are confident you will find an amazing school (as many do exist) and your child may (or may not) bask in their glow of excellence. Unfortunately, excellence does not breed through osmosis. We believe that one rather, should approach selecting their child’s school with a grain of realism. 


Which brings me to the most important question you can ask yourself to launch your search: “What is the best school for my child?”


At Wolff Educational Services we conduct needs assessments that breaks this criteria into 3 selection houses. They are the Social, Emotional and Academic Houses of your child’s success and achievement at school. We have broken these houses into realistic criteria based on actual achievement data (the learning skills) and are written in academic language (reflective of curriculum expectations). Once the assessment is completed, it is simply a matter of matching the results (your child's area of strength and need) with the schools that offer programming in these areas. The equation breeds student success and achievement. Its flawless in its design.


Parents, education today is comprised of these 3 houses working together in unity and harmony. Students must demonstrate learning in all 3 of these areas in order to be successful. The way the curriculum is taught and learned is not inherent of 20th century practices anymore. 21st century classrooms are much more layered in there design and learning platforms are reflective of differentiated instruction, individualized for your child to demonstrate learning and skills. 


Before you begin your school search, know what it is your are looking for. Know what your child's strengths and areas of need are in each area (house) of the learning platforms and how they relate to both the classroom and school. Understand what the classroom does and can do, map the landscape as you would any foreign environment. 


And if you feel like you need an education in all things education before you try and map out a route for your child - call us! We can help - however, we will only find the best school for your child….not necessarily what you think is the best school.


Until Our Next Lesson……


Social and Emotional Intelligence

How do teachers define, measure and evaluate student achievement?   

It is important for all parents to understand that teachers are required to not only report on academic achievement – they are also reporting on your child’s social and emotional intelligence and how they demonstrate this inside their classroom. Teachers assess, evaluate and report on achievement of curriculum expectations and on the demonstration of learning skills and work habits.

The good news is that in order to measure and evaluate this – they also must teach, support and encourage healthy social and emotional intelligence in all curriculum strands and expectations.

This can be a daunting thought for many parents as it may translate initially as, “Why do they evaluate my child’s behavior?”  It is important to note that the way a child presents is not the determining criteria that a teacher uses. Much like a child’s academic achievement, social and emotional intelligence can also be measured, taught and demonstrated. Understanding this process is just as important to the overall academic success of your child as understanding cognitive growth and development.

We are all familiar with the ways we measure ones cognitive abilities – we test. I.Q. tests measure one’s ability to learn or understand new situations, how to reason or form rational thoughts and how to apply that knowledge to a variety of scenarios. I.Q tests paint a picture of a person as a thinker, and then define ones intellect in a series of pre-determined categories. Simple? I think so.

Social and emotional intelligence therefore, is the ability to use both emotional and cognitive thought simultaneously. How can a child demonstrate social and emotional intelligence?  By practicing and using empathy, intuition, creative processing, resilience, leadership, integrity and interpersonal skills. Teachers are expected to work with their students to help them develop learning skills and work habits that are both achievable and measurable. When they are doing this they are helping your child develop their social and emotional I.Q.

Some sample behaviors that teachers look for are: Does the student take responsibility for and manage their own behavior?  Does the student devise a plan for completing work? Does the student use class time appropriately? Does the student accept various roles and an equitable share of group tasks? Does the student demonstrate an interest and curiosity in learning? Do they approach new tasks with a positive attitude? Do they seek clarification when necessary? Can they be reflective of their own learning?

As a student moves from grades 1 – 12 they develop, then consolidate these skills. The development of these skills is strengthened through the achievement of curriculum expectations. They are designed and taught to help students develop a positive sense of self, increase their capacity for using coping skills, develop and maintain healthy relationships, and use critical and creative thinking processes.

Developing social and emotional intelligence is critically important when considering the overall success of student achievement. 

Until Our Next Lesson…