Report cards evolving

With about 20 different report cards in 14 schools, the time has come for the Vernon School District to simplify the system.

It’s been five years since a district assessment committee (DAC) was formed to develop common report cards.

“We did our first pilot with the new system before Christmas,” said Joe Rogers, director of instruction. 

“We wanted lots of feedback from parents and teachers and given the parent response, it’s working well and after all, this is something that is for parents to see how their children are doing.”

Several district schools tested the new system — Charles Bloom, Fulton, BX, Harwood, Kidston and Lavington — and lead teachers, administrators and secretarial staff were trained in the new format. 

Pilot schools were then given TOC time for lead teachers to train their colleagues.

To develop the new report cards, three committees were formed in consultation with Bruce Cummings, Vernon Teachers’ Association president. 

Meetings were held with the committees to define the guiding principles, such as meeting ministry requirements; involving broad-based teacher input at each level; including broad-based parent input at each level; be computer-based and compatible with CIMS sofware.

The new report cards use Teacher Connect, a student information management system provided by Manitoba-based company Take Two, which is creating the common report card templates that will allow teachers to do their reports online.

In using the new format, the majority of teachers liked the web-based system and the ability to do report cards anywhere and anytime. 

With 72 parent responses, 93 per cent felt the report was easy to read, while 92 per cent felt that the new card clearly explained ways that they can support their child’s learning. 

At the same time, some parents expressed concern that it appears to be more work for teachers than the old report card, and that there seems to be a lot of paper for each child.

“We hope to eventually go paperless,” said Rogers. 

“This is a lot of work for teachers, but if you’re a parent and reading this,  you’re getting the information you need.

“I think the pilot is going very well because the teachers have had the time and the training. It’s a fairly complex process and teachers need the time and the training to make this work.”

The pilot process will continue, with teachers and parents again providing input to the DAC.

“We’ll then meet with the DAC about a recommendation to the superintendent regarding full implementation for all schools for the 2011/12 school year.

Trustee Paula Harned  believes the report cards need to be written clearly.

“A lot of the language is very high level and we want to make sure the language is understandable by all parents,” she said.


Vernon Morning Star