Dear Room D4
Next week you start your state tests. You will get dozens of questions to determine how well you comprehended texts, understand different areas of math, and if you can compose a well structured piece of writing. The test will learn a few things about you but it will miss an awful lot as well.
The test will not uncover just what an amazing group of children you are. Every visitor—and I really mean every visitor—to our classroom commented on what great kids you are. This included the Water Color Society, UNR’s Dr. Steve Gehrke, the district’s consulting teachers, ELA Program Coordinator Kelly Rotter, Implementation Specialist Kate Crist, and attorney Austin Sweet. The staff at Marvin Picollo describes you as mature and kind and most recently the wildlife educators at Oxbow Nature Study Area noted how incredibly well-behaved and inquisitive you are.
The test will fail to see what great 21st Century learners you are and it will not fully grasp how well you communicate in groups, the creative spirit you bring to challenging problems, and how you collaborate on projects. Moreover, it will not see how appropriately you peer edit and how you’ve worked with Confidence Buddies, Word Study Colleagues, Writing Coaches, and Math Constructive Friends to ensure everyone is growing as a learner.
Paramount, the test will never get to know what fun and empathetic kids you are. You have entertained me all year with your humor, your stories, and your kindness. You have all exhibited qualities that make you fabulously likable and made it a pleasure to show up to school each morning.
Students of Room D4, I am thrilled that I got to work with you this year. I am absolutely certain that all of you are capable of doing great things. I have seen this first-hand and I have countless stories and artifacts to prove it. Your test will miss a lot of this but I want you to know, I didn’t.