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Social Capital
Reflecting on Progress
As Spring Family Weekend approaches, we are reminded that we are nearly half way through the Spring Term, and 83% of the way through the academic year. Teacher conferences are a highlight of family weekend as families have a formal opportunity to check on student progress in academic classes. From my experience, these conferences are insightful for both teachers and families, and provide valuable feedback to students regarding their personal growth.

The only downside of teacher/family conferences (if you can call it that) is that these conferences follow frequent Notice to Advisors (NTAs), end of term comments and informal conversations/email exchanges with families over the course of the year that can sometimes focus conversations on recent growth and prevent a long-term perspective of student growth.

With five advisees set to graduate this spring after four years at Proctor, I sometimes forget just how far each has come since his arrival as a very young, immature ninth grader. Our students, just like our own children, slowly grow up before our eyes and when we see each of them in class every day, we fail to notice their gradual maturation as students and forget how they got from there to here. 

For my four-year advisees, I have taken the opportunity to share with them pictures from Chuck's Corner highlighting their early years at Proctor to remind them just how much they have grown up, both physically and academically. However, noticing smaller scale growth within the course of a school year, as students can change tremendously within the ten short months, is equally important.

Lindsay Brown recently reflected on how her classes of ninth graders have grown, "As the year progresses, the change in confidence of our students is really noticeable. Many of our ninth graders come with heavy math-phobia baggage; nervous to try, nervous to make a mistake, convinced they will never get it.  each year around Spring Family weekend I see students more willing to take chances, willing to do work outside of class without support, and really gaining confidence in their abilities as a student even if they don't realize it!" 

As educators, we recognize that while not every student is the same, there are certain tendencies that tend to repeat themselves within specific age groups. The fun part for us is that we have the opportunity to help each student navigate this maturation process at Proctor. We must be sure to remind ourselves, and perhaps more importantly our students, to step back once in a while (perhaps during moments of frustration) to see just how much they have grown since the beginning of the term, or beginning of the year, or even beginning of their Proctor career.

For a complete schedule to Spring Family Weekend, click here.
These freshmen and sophomores in Biology will undoubtedly mature as students (and individuals) by the time they graduate.
As Spring Family Weekend approaches and teachers and families have the opportunity to sit together and discuss student progress, a long-term perspective of growth is valuable.
We don't always recognize day-to-day development in student learning, but when we take time to reflect on student growth from the beginning of the term, start of the year, or even their first days at Proctor we gain a far better perspective of just how far each has come in understanding him or herself as a learner.
As Lindsey Brown notes of her freshmen, "_____"