Windsor Southeast Supervisory Union
Hartland . Weathersfield . West Windsor . Windsor School Districts
105 Main Street Suite 200 . Windsor, Vermont 05089
November 5, 2014
Dear Parents and Guardians:
I am writing this letter to inform you that our report cards in Weathersfield (K-4); Hartland (K-5); Albert Bridge (K-5); and Windsor (K-4) will be Standards-Based starting with the first trimester marking period. Our Supervisory Union has developed this report card over the last two years. Some of our schools have been using standard-based reporting for a long time and we relied on some of that experience as we developed a unified model for all of our schools. Our move to this type of reporting comes from the belief that our previous report card did not adequately describe what our children need to know and be able to do to successfully meet the Common Core Standards in Math and English language arts; and the Next Generation Science Standards, both recently adopted by the Vermont Agency of Education. These standards hold our children to a much higher level of achievement to ensure that they will be college and career ready for a very demanding 21st century. Recent research reports say that 60 percent of the jobs that our young people will hold haven’t even been invented yet. We must arm our students with a much wider range of knowledge and skills than was expected of previous generations. Our goal is for all students to reach mastery in these more challenging 21st century skills so that they can thrive in a very complex world.
The traditional report card awarded letter grades, numeric scores, and/or check marks to broad subject areas often without clearly defining or “standardizing” the specific areas of strength and/or weakness associated with growth over time. Standards-based reporting better allows students (and parents) to be aware of what is expected of them. This reporting system describes the specific standards in each particular academic area. The system also allows you to track progress toward a standard (or expectation) in a more detailed manner. On a traditional report card, students receive one grade for reading, one for math, one for science and so on. On a Standards-Based report card, each of these subject areas is further expanded by a list of specific skills students are responsible for mastering. Students receive a separate evaluation code for each indicated skill that is expected. We believe that your understanding of what is expected of your child as he or she is progressing toward a more detailed breakdown of the particular subject area is very important.
The new report card will outline the major subject areas (Reading, Writing, Mathematics etc.), but, in addition, will also list other, more specific components of each of these major areas. Each child is being continually assessed on the components to see if they are making progress toward that particular standard. Each trimester, their progress will be reported using a four point code (or rubric) indicating the following; 1-Does not meet expectations; 2-Making progress toward expectations; 3-Meets expectations
consistently and independently; and 4-Exceeds expectations and extends learning. There is also room on the report card for teachers to comment on the progress to date using a narrative format; providing a description of what might still be needed in order to meet the standard. It is important to note that a four (4) does not equate to an “A” and a three (3) to a “B” and so on. It might be rare or even unnecessary that a student demonstrate an extension of the learning; meaning that a four (4) may never appear. A student might continue to make progress toward a standard for all three trimesters leaving their evaluation code at a two (2) for the year. If they are working hard, taking risks, and moving toward a standard, then a two (2) over multiple trimesters is not a cause for alarm. There may be times when your child is working on standards that are significantly below grade level or significantly above grade level for a variety of reasons. If this is the case, then the teacher will note in the narrative comment section that a “modified curriculum” is being used. If you see this comment, you may want to discuss the nature of the curriculum modifications with the appropriate teacher. A sample of the report card can be found on the supervisory union web site. I would encourage all parents to take a look.
We hope that, over time, parents will be better able to guide and support their child; helping him/her to be successful in a rigorous academic program by using this type of reporting. Our staff understands that it is no longer enough to measure a student’s progress against a particular teacher’s set of standards; or against the progress of fellow classmates; or, even worse, to judge a student’s performance on how much effort the teacher thinks the child put in during the marking period. It is not about any of these. Instead, we have to measure progress against a fixed and rigorous set of academic and behavioral standards. In doing so, we will be partnering with you to make sure each and every child is successful.
We look forward to your feedback after the first marking period. We are not opposed to making adjustments as long as it does not compromise the integrity of standards-based reporting. For those parents who have been use to receiving report cards this way, we hope the new report card is even better; for those parents who are new to this type of reporting, we hope you find it more informative.
Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the office at 802-674-2144 EXT. 107 if you have any questions.
Your principals also stand ready to explain further if necessary. I wish you and all your families a great school year.
Dr. David W. Baker