April 6, 2009

April 6, 2009


Dear LoMA Family,


During reading period today, every student will fill out a school learning survey from the Department of Education before they are dismissed for lunch. LoMA’s teachers and parents have already filled out similar surveys, which are due immediately after Spring Break. The school staff and I use the results from these surveys to evaluate our school and plan for next year.


The results of last year’s survey are among the best in the city, and you can see them on website (follow the link to statistics). In general, the LoMA family said that we care about the right things. In particular, our parents say that we have high expectations for our students, that we communicate with them well and that we respect them and their children. Teachers reported a high level of teamwork, trust and respect. Finally, LoMA’s students stated that their teachers care about them as they expect them to go to college, offer them tutoring and make them work hard to earn good grades. Our lowest scores have to do with the respect that students show each other and their teachers. In fact, the lowest grade on the entire survey indicates that most of our of our students (64%) feel that they are disrespectful towards their teachers.


One of the highest grades on the survey deals with extracurricular activities and the arts. The overwhelming majority of our students responded that they participate in arts, academic and community activities after school. This is no surprise since it is a school requirement. Now, there is a new study out of the University of Illinois that finds that high school sophomores who were rated by their teachers as having good social skills and work habits, and who participated in extracurricular activities in high school, made more money and completed higher levels of education 10 years later than their classmates who had similar standardized test scores but were less socially adroit and participated in fewer extracurricular activities. The same longitudinal study also found that participation in fine arts programs was also associated with “significantly higher earnings” for students 10 years later. This study and hundreds like it support what our students are doing every week. Taking part in extracurricular activities help students learn how to work hard and be respectful. After we get the results from this latest survey, we will have a better sense of how we’re doing.


Sincerely yours,



John Wenk