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December 2016 upDATER - Big Ideas

December 16, 2016

Dear Parents and Guardians:

This afternoon at 2:45 PM you will be able to access your child's progress report (AKA report card) on the Parent Portal for the first trimester of the 2016-2017 school year.  As we have communicated throughout the fall (PTO Meeting presentation, September upDATER, new section of website, and parent-teacher conferences) this progress report will look much different than previous report cards.   Today's upDATER provides links to the previous information that had been shared, give you directions for accessing your child's report, and provide some updated information in the form of FAQ's to help you "read" the report. 

First, it is important to note that we view the entire year as an ongoing process of learning and offer these progress reports as a "snapshot" of a student's current level and not a definitive label of their abilities as a learner.  It is, of course, our goal to have all students demonstrate growth throughout the year and maximize their potential as a learner.  With that in mind, I share my Dater School Grade 4 Progress Report from 1989-90.  Please forgive the stains from the Matteo archives.  You will notice an "Unsatisfactory" in Library for Marking Period 2, but an improvement to "Outstanding" for the final Marking Period.  Also, please note the "Improvement Needed" for Demonstrates Self Control three out of four marking periods. Probably would surprise many of those fourth grade teachers to find out that I became the principal of Dater!

Warm Regards,
Andrew Matteo
Transition to Standards-Based Progress Reports

As we have shared throughout the fall, this year Dater is transitioning to a standards-based progress report.  A standards-based progress report highlights the most important skills students should learn in each subject at a particular grade level. In our elementary school learning environment, students will receive marks that report student progress toward meeting content and performance standards three times a year. Proficiency levels will be determined by multiple assessments, student work samples, and teacher observations.  

A standards-based progress allows parents to see how their child is progressing toward a particular grade-level standard and gives teachers a better tool for documenting a learner's progress.  These grade-level standards are high and therefore not all students are currently meeting the standards.  
Below are some previously released resources.
Click here for the presentation given at the PTO meeting on September 16.
Click here for the section of the Dater website dedicated to the new progress reports. This section includes sample report cards and the benchmarks for each grade level and subject area.
Directions to Access, Verify, and View Progress Reports

1. Log in to the Parent Portal using your username and password.
2. From the Portal homepage, click on "Grades" in the left-hand column. 

3. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and check the box next to "I have reviewed my child's report card."  Please do this before you move to Step 4.

4. Click on "View Report Card" to view the actual report card with grades and teacher comments. You can print a copy of the report card from this screen.
Updated Information

Does a 4 = A, 3 = B, 2 = C, etc.?
ABSOLUTELY NOT.  There is no correlation between the number scale and traditional letter grades.  As you can see on the progress report scale and the benchmarks, each level provides information about a student's progress in relation to the standard.  A 3 indicates that the student is meeting the standard at this point in time.  A 2 indicates that the student is approaching the standard.  These are the most common numbers that you are likely to see on your child's progress report.

Can I compare this progress report to the ones from Tisdale and Hubbard?
Not really.  While they both use the 1-4 rating scale, this is a standards-based progress report based on recent standards that have been adopted by the state of New Jersey.  The standards assessed are more specific and each standard has an aligned rubric to help improve consistency between classrooms.  Tisdale and Hubbard will be moving to standards-based progress reports in 2017-2018. 

Are there any changes from the September 16 presentation?
Yes, there are slight changes.  We removed the section on Social-Emotional Intelligence because we didn't feel that we had enough data to give valid and reliable grades in areas such as "kindness" and "respect."  However, we still view those habits and skills as being important and there may be mention of them in the narrative comments.