Backpacks and lunchboxes sit atop the kitchen table. There are the pencils, folders, notebooks, glue, markers, and, well you get the picture. Schools across the country provide parents with lists of the grade-specific supplies students need to bring on the first day of school. As parents we all want our children to be prepared for the new school year with the proper supplies as best as we can provide. And, we hope a great teacher awaits them on day one.
But, are you sending your children back to school academically prepared for their current grade level? Knowing that your child is entering a new classroom with the necessary proficiency to achieve has got be more important than if they don’t have those exact two-pocket folders in the required colors.
Still there doesn’t seem to be as much conversation—be it on social media, on the news, or among educators and parents—about this issue as there is for back-to-school consumerism.
“We know that education ranks as a top priority and concern for Latino families, yet many face language and cultural barriers to becoming involved in their child’s education,” says Jose Rodriguez, Regional Director of Education at UnidosUS. “They are an underutilized resource for improving learning outside the classroom.”
That lack of attention to these assessments, to the preparedness of students returning to school, is evident by the fact that nine in 10 parents of K-8 students believe their child performs at or above grade level in reading and math, despite the reality that only a little more than a third of students are achieving at that level, according to the 2016 administration of the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP).
For Latino families, the reality of children’s academic preparedness is even more concerning. The results from the previously mentioned assessment show that Latino students are performing at the basic level and are far from proficiency.
Latino teens continue to face barriers to success as they go on to high school. For example, the Latino student high school graduation rate of 79% lags behind the national average high school graduation rate of 84% and that of other student groups.
BE A HERO
While the statistics are disconcerting, it’s no time for despair. As parents we can make sure children are ready for the new school year by using the short Readiness Check developed by Learning Heroes. Offered for free in Spanish and English, this assessment will give parents a gut check on how well their child understands the foundational skills needed at the start of the school year. And it will connect families to the resources they need to practice specific skills at home.
It couldn’t be simpler. Have your child answer the three to five questions posed in the Readiness Check and you will know if they are on grade level. Once families have their results, they can schedule a meeting with their child’s teacher to discuss how they can best support their child’s learning outside of school.
For more resources, visit our website, or the websites of a few of our partners: