Class evaluations and recommendations are a big part of every spring at the dance studio – and we try to make the evaluation season a positive one for every student.
Evaluations & recommendations for Summer 2018 and the 2018-2019 season are in the mail! PSD families, you should receive yours between this afternoon and Saturday in the mail.
Every instructor fills out a unique evaluation form for each class (so dancers in three classes will get three evaluations) – using our syllabus for each level. The evaluation forms have three columns: Attitude, Technique, and specific-to-that-class Key Skills. Each skill is marked with a 1 for new skill (or needs work), 2 for a developing skill, and 3 for a mastered or completed skill.
The attitude column is for things like consistent attendance, work ethic in class, listening, showing respect to other dancers and the instructor, etc. The technique column covers fundamentals of that dance style (for example, in ballet – straight knees, pointed feet, tall posture, and rhythm and musicality). The third column covers specific skills to that class level (for example, one of the key skills in Ballet 3 is a double pirouette). After these, teachers write comments to each student, and then their recommendation for classes for the next season. Our teachers have done an incredible job preparing thoughtful evaluations and recommendations – know that lots of time was invested in this form for your student! We want students to know that we are watching and paying attention in class, and to let them know objectively how they are progressing – and know that students take written feedback to heart when sometimes it’s easy to forget comments said during class.
Please remember that most students spend at least two years in every Graded Technique level. Sometimes, dancers who have progressed quickly through the first levels catch up to that average of two years in each level later on. Every dancer’s journey is completely unique – your dancer may not progress at the same rate as their friends or classmates, and that’s OK.
We mail recommendations home instead of passing them out in class (even though it takes about 15 hours to get them sorted, packed, addressed, and mailed out!) because we know that kids may have a tendency to “compare notes” with their friends and that they may have a big emotional reaction. I remember going through exciting audition or evaluation results as a kid and wanting to yell with excitement but knowing that wasn’t appropriate – and also getting disappointing results and wanting to cry (I was a total cryer as a teenager!) but not feeling OK doing that around my friends. It was so awkward and uncomfortable! We know that kids feel things in a deep way and want them to be able to get those feelings out at home. We also know that sometimes paper notices get thrown in the bottom of the dance bag and may not make it home in a timely manner – and nobody wants to touch the letter at the bottom of a dance bag beneath the stinky jazz shoes!
Our hope is that these evaluations can be practice for kids to handle exciting news with kindness and disappointments with grace. What a great, safe way to practice dealing with these real-life situations in a low-stakes way (class placement seems like a big deal right now, but in a dancer’s total career, placement for one year does not make an impact!). Some of our most advanced dancers have had disappointing recommendation or audition results – and they grew to that next level of skill and passion after working through conversations about that. This can equip kids with strength and the ability to have a difficult conversation that will be an asset to them throughout their life!
I was so disappointed when I got placed on the “C Team” in middle school basketball. I knew that was the lowest level team, my friends made the “A Team”, and I sobbed about that and almost quit when those lists went up. My parents reassured me that the mission in playing basketball (or any sport or activity) was to be a part of a team, to improve my skills, and the name of the team I was placed on doesn’t impact that mission at all. I reluctantly continued – and one week later, the name of my team didn’t matter any more. Because of my placement, I was able to shoot and score points in our “C Team” games – and I realized when watching the “A Team” that I NEVER would have had the chance to play in any games – or if I did, I wouldn’t have been set up to succeed.
All of our teaching staff has one goal – the success of each and every student. Our recommendations for each kid are designed to help them be successful in dance.
If you or your dancer has a question about their recommendation, please have them ask their teacher! Dance has it’s own terminology, and I know that the recommendations I wrote at the end of a session may not be as legible as the ones I wrote first 🙂 We are here to help students – and if they need some clarification on their comments or evaluations, we’re happy to help!
If your dancer is disappointed in their evaluation, sometimes we’ve had students get disappointing recommendations and turn that into fuel to kick things into gear and do what it takes to level up. Doubling up on a genre for the summer and extra stretching or practice on a specific skill at home can change an initial recommendation! These evaluations show recommendations based on class performance today – but it is absolutely possible that with focused energy and extra work, they can change! A conversation with your instructor can equip your dancer with the knowledge they need to set and achieve a goal to meet the requirements of the next level.
We should have our 2018-2019 class schedule online next week – dancers enrolled in summer dance (Graded Technique classes may start to fill once recommendations all get home!) get the first chance to register for 2018-2019, then the second tier of registration is for dancers enrolled this school year who are taking the summer off, and then we’ll open registration up to the public. Register for next year early – with our move into our larger facility, we will not fill classes past capacity because we can offer more classes, so our most popular class times may fill up quickly!
We are so thankful for you and your dancer – and hope that we can work together to make this evaluation process a positive and helpful one for your dancer! We are always here to answer questions and work with you to make a plan to help your dancer reach their goals.