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Reflections from Katie: February 4, 2016

Late last week or early this week, you should have received your child’s report card. This year we have experimented with a new format for this checklist of skills. This is the first marking period where you received a checklist about your child’s progress in the absence of a face to face conversation with your child’s teacher about what it all means. After a meaty conversation at school council last week, I realized that it might make sense to share some more thinking about the rating scale and what it means.

When we began creating this checklist we started from the premise that the most important information to know is whether or not your child is meeting the expectations. The purpose of the checklist of skills is to communicate to families if everything is on track for your child, or if your child may need some additional support. The standards that are being assessed are standards that students are expected to have mastered at this point in the year. The following may give you some guidance about how you might react to the three different ratings.

M= Met. This means your child is on track for this particular standard, and the teacher has seen some evidence that your child can do this particular skill/task independently. You do not need to be concerned about this area. You may want to talk to your child about what this particular standard means and whether they, in fact, think they have met this standard.

MWS= Met with Support. This means that your child understands this concept, or can perform this skill, but not always independently. Your child may need a teacher to remind him/her about one or two steps in a procedure. Your child may need some prompts to expand his/her thinking. Your child may demonstrate understanding in some settings, but not in others (ie- on a test).

NYM= Not Yet Met. If your child has not yet met a standard, this means your child is behind where he or she should be. If there are more than one or two areas that are scored with NYM, this indicates that your child is behind, and needs to do extra work to catch up. If you haven’t already been in touch with your child’s teacher about what this extra work might be, now is the time to do that. As a staff, we have agreed that if a child has several NYMs, this should not be the first time a parent is hearing about it; it should not be a surprise.A survey about your experience with the new report card will be coming out soon. Please look for this survey and respond so we can continue improving in our ability to communicate effectively with all families about their child’s progress.