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'Great Expectations' to help parents

September 16, 2008 3:05:51 PM PDT
Parents have a new resource this year to help them track their children's progress in the classroom.It's a booklet titled "Great Expectations," and it lets them know what to expect from their schools and what they're children should be learning.

"I want to learn about knowledge and math and handwriting," second-grader Andrew LoScalzo said.

Everything LoScalzo and other city grade schoolers are expected to learn this year is included in "Great Expectations," the parent hand-outs named for the Charles Dickens' novel.

"We name them 'Great Expectations,'" family engagement officer Martine Guerrier said. "It's a play on words, but it's really what we expect. We have high expectations and they're great for our kids."

There are handouts for grades K through 8, covering every subject from math to social studies. For instance, by year's end, in language arts, kindergartners are expected to "create a story with a beginning, middle and end using pictures and some words."

Eighth graders, in math, should learn to "solve problems that involve percents, compute sales tax, simple interest, sale price, commissions or tips."

Parents are also told how to supervise homework and what to ask teachers.

"It teaches us how to teach our children, because there's things there that we don't know about, that we're learning now when we read the booklet," parent Angel Martinez said.

"What I really want parents to take away is that they feel empowered to be a real partner in their child's education," deputy chancellor Dr. Marcia Lyles said.

Studies often show that children can do better in school when their parents are involved. But some parent leaders, who have taken a look at the Great Expectations handouts, say they are not so impressed with the information.

"I'm not terribly enthusiastic," parent Rob Calores said. "I don't see the need for it."

But some students like the idea of including their parents in schoolwork.

"Even if I make a mistake or if I do it correctly, I still want them to see," student Bryan Romero said.

To see and read the booklets, visit Schools.NYC.gov/Academics/Great+Expectations.htm.

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STORY BY: Education reporter Art McFarland

WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King

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