As you may remember from an Open House or your parent-teacher conference, we are using a new format for our elementary report cards this year. Our previous report card was developed prior to the change in New York State Learning standards, so we needed to update the report card to align with our curriculum. Equally as important, however, was addressing concerns that had been raised by parents about the report card. While all parents agreed that there was a great deal of information presented on the report card, many felt that the quantity of information was simply overwhelming, with little indication of the most essential skills necessary for success. With this new format, we strive to provide you with better, clearer feedback about your child’s progress in meeting the grade level learning standards set forth by the state of New York.
The first thing you will notice is that the print orientation of the report card has changed, thus allowing us to use a template which should be easier to read. The next thing you might notice is the fact that each core subject area has a limited number of subcategories, representing the most salient skills a child should learn in that subject at the particular grade level. For over a year and a half, a representative team of teachers worked diligently to articulate in concise language the requisite skills necessary for successful achievement of the learning standards in each subject. Correspondingly, the achievement scale for all subjects is now articulated with a 1—4 scale in order to show the degree to which your child has mastered the requisite skills listed for the core subject. For example, a child earning a 4 would exceed grade level expectations, demonstrating a high level of understanding and application of new learning. A child earning a 3 would be consistently meeting grade level expectations. A score of 2 indicates that a child is only partially meeting grade level standards and is not yet able to apply knowledge consistently as would be expected at the particular grade level. A score of 1 indicates that the child has not yet met grade level expectations for the required skills taught. In addition to these ratings, teachers will provide comments to help provide a fuller picture of your child’s progress.
Another big change that you will notice is a section of the report card devoted to “Behaviors that Promote Learning.” We strive to make our classrooms positive learning environments which foster intellectual curiosity, value hard work, and appreciate the contributions of each learner. We know that as children progress through elementary school, our work is not only to help them learn the required content, but also develop a range of academic strategies and mindsets that will allow them to flourish as they continue with their schooling. To that end, we think it is very important to recognize and report on the behaviors that help children to be successful students as those are skills which transcend specific content to provide a solid foundation for all future learning.
In the upcoming year, we will develop the sections of the report card devoted to our special area subjects as well as our kindergarten report card. As with the implementation of any new initiative, we expect that we will be doing some fine-tuning as the new report cards get established. We appreciate any input you have and invite you to share your thinking about the report card format with your child’s teacher, your principal, or me.
As always, thank you for the continued support of our schools.
Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction