Grade Cards and Dismissal

posted Nov 1, 2013, 12:50 PM by Chad Miller

November 1, 2013

To All GES Families:

Re: New Grading Practices and Dismissal Procedures

As we begin the 2nd quarter of the 2013-2014 school year and grade cards are coming home, I wanted to take this time to discuss the grading practices that we implementing here at Graham Elementary.

This year marks the first year that we have implemented the new Common Core State Standards in reading and math. As we move through this implementation, we have moved away from the traditional grading system of scoring papers with letter grades and focusing we are focusing on the skills that students have and have not mastered. Many of the assignments that are assigned to students are opportunities for them to practice a skill without the fear of a low grade. It is practice without consequences. What our teachers are then using this practice as is an opportunity for students to demonstrate growth in the skill and teachers are monitoring students to ensure growth. If a student is not making progress, students are provided an appropriate intervention. For example, a teacher might present a lesson. At the end of the lesson, the teacher gives the students an “exit ticket” that consists of 5 problems of varied difficulty to address the targeted skill. The teacher will then take this information and informally look for students who need additional practice with this skill. The next day, students may be assigned to centers while the teacher works with the students who demonstrated that they were not making growth or had not mastered the skill. The teacher, after giving several opportunities for practice, will give the students a summative assessment in the form of a quiz or other assignment. At that time, students would be given a grade based on whether they have mastered the skill.

Due to this new approach of measuring progress on a standard or indicator, students are receiving fewer grades. As you log into progress book or see the first quarter report card, I wanted to make you aware of this. While letter grades have not been eliminated, we are more concerned on whether the student has mastered the grade level standards in reading and math. Over the course of the 2013-2014 school year, we will be working at each grade level to develop a new report card that will provide effective feedback to families and be focused on the standards that your son or daughter have or have not mastered. We feel this more detailed information will be of greater value than whether your child received an A or B. If you have questions, please feel free to contact Mr. Miller.

Over the course of the school year, dismissal of students has progressively become more difficult. As the year has went on, we have continued to receive later and later phone calls requesting transportation changes. Some days, we receive many calls after 3:20 which is the time that students are dismissed from their classrooms. In the past, we have asked that any transportation changes be made prior to 1 pm to allow us sufficient time to notify the classroom teachers and the students of the changes. While we understand that there can be unforeseen situations that arise, we have some families that call late frequently. This makes it difficult for us to keep all of our students safe and accounted for. Our number one goal is to keep students safe and the hardest part of this is at the end of the day. We have nearly 1,100 students in the building and feel that we have a system in place that allows us to keep track of students with a teacher sending students to meet another staff member in the hallway who then walks them out for dismissal. All we ask is that you please make your arrangements prior to 1 pm. Dismissal is a busy time and this would help greatly.

In addition to the late phone calls, we continue to have students being asked by their families to cross to the parking lot on their own. This practice is the most dangerous thing you can do for your child during dismissal time. We have too many incidents where cars need to back up and leave, yet we have students that are being asked by their families to cross and this often is taking place between cars. I cannot urge you enough to park your car and walk over and escort your child or children across the crosswalk where drivers are expecting to see children and their families.

Lastly, we have the pick-up area arrange so that drivers should not have to wait for anyone to make a turn in front of them. If you live towards Urbana, you should enter in front of the school, turn right and pick up your child or children in front of the east side of the building nearest Urbana. If you are coming from St. Paris, you should turn in at the middle school and take the drive across to the elementary and turn left into the primary side or west side of the building to pick up your child or children and then exit back out to them middle school. Even if you need to go towards Urbana, we ask that you exit in front of the middle school. This way, no one has to cross traffic. In addition, we ask that you please pull up as far as possible when waiting for your child or children and that you do not exit your car while waiting along the curb. If you have questions, please see Mr. Miller. I appreciate your cooperation in helping to keep our students safe.

Yours In Education,

Chad Miller