October 26, 2021

Giving kids a boost

Homer schools work to highlight kids’ accomplishments

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer

Homer Intermediate teaching assistant Jessica Parmiter, a Homer High School graduate, helps fourth-grader Hailey Hurocy with her composition Tuesday during study time. The district has begun a more formal process to provide encouragement to students.

At Homer School District, families may start getting a postcard sent home highlighting their child’s achievements.

Elementary school students will start seeing their accomplishments tracked in a chart that’s posted on the classroom wall.

These are efforts underway to help the district reach a goal by June 30 of bringing the number of students reporting that an adult in the school recognizes them for things they do well — to 80 percent from 68 percent.

“The idea is to be more conscious and systematic in our recognition of kids and building a home-school connection by tracking data,” said Superintendent Tom Turck.

“We know we will not be able meet the academic goals we have for children if they are not socially and emotionally confident and safe at school,” he said.

Each principal sets a goal and tracks the school’s progress on a dashboard on the district webpage, updating parents and residents along the way on how the district is doing, Turck said.

Elementary School teachers are keeping a chart to track achievements. Junior High School teachers will send home postcards.

At Homer High School, Principal Douglas VanEtten said teachers across all subject areas will call home to follow up with the parent about it. Art teachers will put student art in the community more to get them more recognition.

“A lot of great stuff goes on here every day,” VanEtten said.

He said more recognition will promote a more positive attitude about school.

The goal of all this praise and recognition? Turck says it’s to get kids in a better place to succeed academically.

“You can be very strong instructionally, but if the child doesn’t feel connected to the school or the adult instructing them, you are not going to have the same level of success with the child,” he said.