School of Fish
March 3, 2017
I know a young girl full of exuberance. She’s young for her grade, perhaps a little dreamy. On standardized tests, she might not look like she’s a successful student. She might stop in a reading assessment to tell you how this part of the story reminds her of this other book she read with her mom last week and … she especially likes stories that have giraffes in them, while the timer ticks on. She might draw a picture of a spider on the test of high frequency words. She might stop you in the middle of a timed fluency test to ask if you noticed her new shoes, tell you where she got them, and wonder if they would look good on you.
Today we had a little meeting with her teacher and others to talk about how we might help this student and here’s what her teacher taught us. “She’s great,” the teacher said. “She loves school and life.” “She’s happy and interested and interesting.” “It took me a few months to get to know her,” said her brilliant teacher, “but when I did, I didn’t worry anymore.”
“You see,” she said, “this little friends swims in our school of fish on the side, checking out all that passes by and commenting on it for all of the rest of the fish.” I would add that they in turn appreciate that and accept her for her contribution.
It was a good lesson for us today. Data is important, but there is data and there is data. This data, seen with the heart, will help this little fish succeed. Her caring teacher will nurture her this year and pass her on to another next year. Her parents who know her so well, will encourage her individuality. And the rest of us, we will remember that standards are wonderful, data is terrific, but each time we meet, it’s just about that little swimming fish and how to keep her safe, happy, and moving forward.