Hamburg directors looking at new standards-based report cards

Hamburg Area School District directors received an introduction from administrators into a new method that the district is considering for reporting grades on April 28.

Administrators are looking at standards-based report cards as a way to more accurately reflect students progress in English language arts at the elementary level (Grades K-5).

Grades are not meted out based on test or homework averages, but on development towards the standard.

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“There is a stated set of criteria rather than A’s, B’s and C’s,” Dr. Elizabeth Lambi, director of curriculum and instruction, said. “The report will list the most important skills that students should learn at each grade.

“This emphasizes learning over earning. Letter grades don’t tell what skills are mastered. This will provide more consistency and better communication with parents on the expectations at each grade.”

Administrators are looking at this type of reporting because the Common Core and Pennsylvania Core Academic Standards have changed and do not fit with the current reporting system, according to Dr. Lambi.

“We plan to do this one subject at a time and get feedback from parents,” Dr. Shawn Fitzpatrick, elementary school principal, said. “Currently report cards are not a user friendly document.

“There will be a revision process. We’ll be relying on feedback before releasing this as a report card document.”

Standards-based report cards will not be used at the high school level because students need traditional grades when applying to colleges and post-secondary schools, according to Dr. Lambi.

Dr. Lambi and Dr. Fitzpatrick hope to have the new reporting system in place for the start of the 2014-15 school year.

In other news, school directors approved the proposed athletic budget for 2014-15 in the amount of $578,903.

The budget reflects a decrease of $18,278 over the current year and is about 1.5 percent of the district’s $38 million budget.

School directors met in executive session prior to the meeting to discuss contracts and legal issues. No further details were available.

The next meeting of school directors is Monday, May 12 at 6:30 p.m. in the James A. Gilmartin Community Room.