PQ Students to Get New Report Card

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Officials say the new report card is designed to give parents and educators a clearer look into a student's overall performance.
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When parents of Pequenakonck Elementary School students get their childrens’ report cards in January, they will be greeted with a different report card. Principal Mary K. Johnson gave a sneak peek of the new report cards at the Sept. 14 meeting of the North Salem Board of Education.The redesign began in 2014 by the Report Card Committee. “The report card’s been outdated for awhile now,” said Johnson. “And it no longer matched the instruction and the content of the teaching in the classroom.” As part of the process, she said, the committee researched other standards-based report cards in New York State and took into account the school’s mission, revised ELA and math standards and Common Core requirements. The committee also revised the behavioral portion of the PQ report card, taking into account new changes such as the school’s Kind Campus initiative when formulating the behavioral assessment portion of the new report cards. Rather than revamping report cards one section at a time, Johnson said, the committee waited until it had redesigned report cards entirely after numerous drafts evaluated by teachers, faculty and PTO leadership. As a result, parents will see several changes including category titles and descriptors reflecting the Common Core state standards, a revised instructional rating scale and a “characteristics of a successful learner” section that assesses learning behaviors such as work habits and social skills necessary to be a successful student. In addition to changes made in the overall goals in both mathematics and ELA, the marking system has been dramatically changed. Previously, students were graded in a numerical system, 1-4, with 1 indicating the student was experiencing difficulty, needing frequent teacher support to 4; works independently with success. The report card committee felt proficiency in the skills were not clear in that grading system so it was changed. The revised grading is a letter-based system. “E” means the students exceed New York State and District standards for concepts and skills in a particular area. “M” means the student meets New York State and District standards. “W” means a student is working toward New York State and District standards, and that reinforcement and support are needed. “N” means the student is not meeting New York State and District standards and is performing significantly below grade level expectations. There is a change in when report cards will be distributed. They will now be distributed two times a year, January and June and parent/teacher conferences will be held in November and April to review student progress toward proficiency before an actual report card is distributed, rather than afterward. With parent/teacher conferences slated before report cards are distributed, school officials are hoping the move will give students the opportunity to work on areas of weakness before grades are given. Johnson said the new standards-based report cards will help parents because they allow for “careful and precise monitoring of student achievement,” and “reflect grade-level standards and expectations so parents could gain a more complete idea of student progress.” She emphasized that the new report cards are designed to show how each child is progressing against the standards, not how a child is performing relative to other students.

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