New Report Card Introduced for Kindergarten and First Grade Students

October 10, 2013
Dwayne Page
Michelle Burklow

As part of the new Common Core State Standards initiative, the DeKalb County School System has introduced a new standards-based report card for kindergarten and first grade students.

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The purpose of the new reporting system is to provide parents and teachers with more accurate information about students' progress toward meeting the specific content standards for the various subjects taught at each grade level.

Michelle Burklow, Supervisor of Instruction for Pre-K through 6th grade, informed the Board of Education Thursday night that the new report card has already gone out for the first nine weeks of school. "We're very excited that we did get that completed. Kindergarten and first grade had a standards-based report card going home the first nine weeks. I was able to attend DeKalb West School's parent-teacher conference this evening and I was able to speak with several of the parents coming down the kindergarten and first grade hallway. I received lots of positive comments. We talked about how that this is an opportunity for parents to polish skills with their child. I think they (parents) were really amazed at how much the students will be learning this school year," she said.

"I've had a couple of compliments on it as well," said fourth district school board member Billy Miller. "They (parents) really like it. They like where their kids are at. They know there are probably some deficiencies going on so this (report card) distinguishes those a little bit better so they (parents) know what to work on," he said.

Dr. Danielle Collins, Federal Programs Supervisor, visited Smithville Elementary School's parent-teacher conference and also received positive comments from parents. "They appreciate that they now can help their child on specific standards at home .They actually know what their child needs extra help in," she said.

Burklow said plans are to start working on a standards-based report card for second graders after Christmas and to have it in place next year.

With the standards-based report card, educators know whether all students are learning what they should in each grade by monitoring the skills listed on the report card.

Traditional report cards usually assign 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 divided into a list of skills and knowledge that students are responsible for learning. Students receive a separate mark for each standard.

Instead of letter grades, the standards-based report card grades students by numbers 1-4. " Category 4 would mean students are advanced," said Burklow at a previous school board meeting. " That means they have an understanding of the standards, the skills. It exceeds the grade level expectations. Earning a 3 would mean that students are proficient in understanding the skills and meet grade level expectations. We want all students to be at that proficient level. So a 3 would mean that they are right on target for gaining all their academic information for the school year. A 3 would be something to celebrate. A 2 would mean that the student has a basic understanding of the skill/skills being tested. This child is progressing toward mastery but needs a little polishing on a specific skill. A 1 would mean that the student has minimal understanding. Here again, teachers and parents would work together, intervene with that student so that they would progress up to mastery," said Burklow.

In other business, Director of Schools Mark Willoughby updated the school board on personnel moves since the last meeting.

Those employed as substitute teachers since September are:

Jean Hope, Ann Frazier, Katie Merriman, Tiffanie Martin, Yvonne Hale, Michelle Critser, Jenny Trapp, Kerry Polk, Michael Hattaway, Joy Whitman, Meghan Padgett, Helga Thompson, Jordon Roller, Erin O'Loughlin, Bethany Cornelius, and Kim Taylor.

Lisa Hull, a teacher was granted a leave of absence as requested.

The board gave approval for an overnight FFA trip to the 2013 National FFA Convention in Louisville, Kentucky October 29 through November 2.

Board approval was granted for an overnight DCHS Beta Club trip to attend the National Beta Club state convention at Gaylord Opryland November 24-26.

Approval was given for two day basketball games at DeKalb Middle School (play at Warren County November 22 and for Warren County to play here on December 9)

Director Willoughby also gave a brief update on the DeKalb West School building project. He said the contractor will start pouring concrete Friday morning, October 11.

The next regular monthly school board meeting will be Tuesday, November 19 at 7:00 p.m. at the Board of Education Building. The board will have a workshop on Tuesday, October 15 at 6:00 p.m. at the Board of Education Building on the development of a five year plan.

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