by Nancy Richards, Director of the Junior School
Last night’s Junior School curriculum night was well attended by parents and one of the highlights of the evening was the unveiling of the new report card.
The new report card will help parents better understand whether children are meeting the grade level learning outcomes in each subject area through a numerical chart and it will continue to focus on how the teachers can support each child’s improvement through personalized comments. This keeps the best of the old report card while emphasizing more clearly children’s strengths and needs. In addition, the new report card will focus on how each child learns in addition to what they learn, in a new section called Learning Skills.
The Junior School faculty are particularly happy that the new report card has arrived! Over the past several years, a learning team of Junior School teachers has met monthly to study current assessment and evaluation practices with the intent of improving student learning. The team attended professional development opportunities and then shared their experiences with the rest of the staff providing a bridge between what research shows and what teachers can do in their classrooms. They explored other school report card formats and together they designed and created a report that was a good fit for the SMUS Junior School. The new report card was piloted with a handful of parents last spring and the feedback from parents was overwhelmingly positive. Full implementation of the new report card this term will punctuate this exciting journey!
Of course, the report card is only one piece of the on-going communication between home and school. Interviews, conferences and student-led conferences are other unique opportunities to discuss children’s achievement, but report cards are a great way to record children’s growth.
Congratulations to the entire Junior School faculty for their part in making the new report card a reality, and to Ms. Jane Rees, Grade 4 teacher, and Mr. Gordon Chan, computer teacher, who chaired the Junior School Assessment and Evaluation learning team for four years. Special thanks to Mr. Brandon Hawes, Grade 3 teacher, who piloted the report card last spring, and to Director of Academics John Liggett for supporting the process.