In an effort to improve the elementary school student evaluation process, the Levittown Union Free School District administration introduced a new report card proposal during Wednesday night’s Special Board of Education Meeting at the Memorial Education Center.
Under the new plan, elementary school report cards would be broken up into three marking periods, instead of four. The system, which has been developed for grades two through five, is based on the new Common Core Standards, according to Levittown Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Debbie Rifkin.
“The feedback that we’ve gotten across the district is that it was very difficult to assess the elementary students so early in the school year,” Rifkin said. “This will give us a little bit more time at the beginning of the year to make an accurate assessment.”
Under the proposal, students will be graded on a four through one rubric, with four being the highest. The report card will incorporate both standards of learning and participation and effort grades, according to Rifkin.
“I like the new report card a lot,” Trustee Peggy Marenghi said. “I think it really supports what we’re moving towards, getting away from grades. When parents see grades, they’re not looking to what the sub-categories are and where your child really needs to improve.”
One of the chief concerns of other trustees surrounded the elimination of a fourth marking period.
"I think a big part of education is progress monitoring on behalf of the parent,” Board President Michael Pappas said. “This is eliminating one chance to see how my child is doing.”
Pappas expressed concerns about parents of children in the low to middle section of the evaluation rubric. They would, he cautioned, not receive a proper evaluation of their child until late November.
“For the kid who is failing, the parents will know,” Pappas said. “For the kids who are getting threes and fours, they’re not going to need going to need additional help. It’s the [students] who receive twos that I’m concerned about. It’s the two that we forget about a lot of times. The kid that’s a mid-range two is not going to get the call home.”
Despite the concerns, the board gave the committee permission to continue formulating the new report cards, provided teacher conferences occur in October.
During meetings scheduled for the summer, the committee intends to draft both a teacher and parent handbook that will aid the transition to the new grading system. Fall teacher and parent workshops will also be held, according to Rifkin.
Teacher evaluations were also discussed during the meeting. Superintendent Dr. James Grossane announced that the district has completed its APPR plan for the 2012-13 school year. This guarantees that the district will have “no issue” receiving additional state aid, according to Grossane.
“A lot of districts are not in the same position that we are,” Grossane said. “...It was a great professional discussion and I think we’ll be able to move instruction forward because of this APPR plan. I’m hopeful that it will do everything that we anticipate."
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