News, schools, and views from a uniquely Lowell perspective

Parent’s view of school progress

When my son started in Kindergarten at the Bailey School, I was amazed that there was no playground at the school.  Why build an elementary school without a playground?  I joined a group of parents who worked with the city, raised funds and eventually got a playground for the school.  After years of driving to Chelmsford to use their playgrounds, we finally had one, but it was too late for my son.  He was too old for playgrounds by then.  This experience is one that has been repeated throughout my 13 years of involvement with the Lowell schools.  

Just recently I happened to be at a friend’s house when her sixth-grade daughter brought home a paper showing “Key Skills and Strategies for the School Year.”  The chart was for English Language Arts and listed three sets of skills – reading comprehension; grammar, vocabulary and other mechanics; and writing.  For each skill there was a strategy under 7 different genres (fiction, non-fiction, poetry/drama, etc).  For example, looking across from Reading Comprehension to the column under Biography, one of the strategies is “determining fact from opinion.”  The Writing strategy under Biography is to do a research report.   It is the kind of thing I would have been thrilled to see when my own child was in Middle School.  I found out that this an effort on the part of the school department to keep parents informed about what their child will learn during the whole year and is being done for Math and ELA in every school, K-8.  Not only does it inform you as a parent, there is a feeling that there is finally consistency across the system.  As with many of the improvements in our school system, from smaller class sizes, to the literacy initiatives at the elementary schools and increased Algebra readiness at the middle school, it came too late for us. Still, it is heartening to see these and other signs that the schools continue to make progress.  

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