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Student/Parent Letter

Dear Students and Parents:                                                          It is  my pleasure to be associated with you during this school year!  I have the highest of expectations for what we can achieve together...in fact, achieve is a great word to start us off on the right foot...Imagine yourself as an Olympic athlete vying for a medal.  What are the things you must think about and do to achieve a team victory?  What are your responsibilities as a member of the team?  How does what you do effect other team members?The answers to these questions are important as we work together this year to accomplish our goals.  I am the coach, the students are the players, and the parents are fans and support staff.  Who are the opponents?  They're heavyweights like apathy, discouragement, and laziness.  Any successful team must overcome these if they are to achieve their goals.  What is our goal as a class?  It is to beat the heavyweights and take home trophies that will last a lifetime...a love of learning, good grades, and confidence that you did your best to help yourself and your team!  Team success comes from the individual success of each player.  Each player must make good personal choices during the contest.  How will they be made?  History shows that if the positive and negative results of choices are understood ahead of time, people are more likely to do the right thing.I.  CHOICES: There are the 2 kinds of things students can do concerning this class:(+) Positive-actions students can choose to take:1- Come to class every day that it is in session.2- Be on time.3- Be prepared for class ( bring books, paper, pencils, complete assignments, and other class materials as needed every day).4- Remain in our seats unless there is a legitimate need to be out of them.5- Raise a hand to ask questions or make appropriate comments to someone.6- Keep notes for every day in class in a journal by date.  Write down what is important.7- Listen to the 'person' who "has the floor" ( teacher, student, speaker, video, etc.).8- Complete and turn in all work on time.9- Study out of class as needed.          10- Work hard to do quality work worthy of a quality grade.(-) Negative-actions students can choose to take instead:1- Miss class.2- Be late.3- Come to class unprepared.4- Wander out of assigned seats.5- Talk out of turn or ask questions about unrelated topics.6- Fail to write down important things.7- Ignore the person who " has the floor."8- Fail to complete and/or turn in assignments on time.9- Fail to study out of class when needed.          10- Put out a minimum of effort and slide by.

 These 2 lists together describe only 10 of the choices students might face.  For example, each student will choose to do either positive #1 or  negative #1.  What are the consequences of these choices?II.  CONSEQUENCES: What happens once the choice is made?(+) Positive things result when students do things on the 1st list:1. They are informed about everything that happens in class.2. They start class ahead instead of behind.3. They have the basic tools needed to be successful.4. They are focused and ready to use their tools.5. They can be noticed and heard when questioning or commenting.6. They have a record of those things they feel are important.7. They can hear and understand others' opinions and ideas.8. They train themselves to meet deadlines and present quality work.9. They understand more fully ideas discussed briefly in class.          10. They learn on a deep level, and feel good about their efforts and grade.(-) Negative things result when students do things on the 2nd list:1. They miss out on everything that happened in class.2. They start class behind, and cause a disruption for everyone.3. They can't be successful because they don't have the tools they need.4. They remain unfocused, separated from their tools, and a disruption to others.5. They cause confusion, misdirect the discussion, and cause people to lose interest.6. They have no record of important ideas for future reference.7. They have no idea what has been said or why.8. They train themselves to always be late with things and to do poor work.9. They lose the value of the text and their notes as a resource.          10. They don't learn much, and don't feel good about their efforts and grade.            The desire to receive positive consequences for actions is something I hope to foster in all students this year.  Most students come by this naturally...however, a common problem is that a student expects a consequence that doesn't fit his/her action.   An example would be a farmer who planted corn, and then in the fall (after all the misguided effort) went into the field and said, " Where are my spuds?"  His action did not fit his expected consequence!  In the same way, a student who continually does things like those on the negative-action list is sometimes surprised to see something other than an "A" on their grade report!It is hoped that as each student fosters the desire to achieve positive consequences, they will gain a love for learning and an understanding of how what they learn fits in the world around them...and how they can use it to their best advantage.  The most valuable asset gained in school and in life is experience.  As you make your contribution to our class this year, I hope that you enjoy the team experience, too! I am committed to helping in any way I can, and look forward to the student-parent-teacher relationship that should always exist in quality education.                             Good Luck!     Mr. Hayes Signatures: Parent:______________________  Student:___________________________ 
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