Danville school board to get update new report-card program

Danville school board to get update new report-card program

DANVILLE — The Danville school district rolled out new standards-based report cards for kindergarten through second-grade students this year. Now, it's getting ready to do the same for third-, fourth- and fifth-graders next year.

School officials will give board members an update on the implementation process at Wednesday's school board meeting.

Standards-based cards replace letter grades in math and English/language arts with numeric ratings indicating a student's proficiency in specific learning standards — or the priority knowledge and skills that students should know and be able to do at the end of each grade level — in those subjects.

A "4" means a student consistently exceeds the standard; a "3" means the student meets a standard; a "2" means a student is approaching the standard, but hasn't mastered it yet; and a "1" means a student is working below the standard and needs continued support in that area.

The intent is to give parents a very clear picture of how their children are progressing on all of the skills they're expected to master at the end of the year, and which skills they still need to work on.

"Our goal is to enable every student to meet standards by the end of the year," said Diane Hampel, director of educational support programs.

After piloting the report card for K-2 students this year, officials are recommending a few minor changes including separating addition and subtraction into two standards on all three cards, and adding "writing numerals 0 through 20" to the kindergarten card, Hampel said. Those changes will be implemented in the next school year.

She said the new cards have been a learning process for parents, who are used to seeing letter grades.

"It's fairly typical for students to get 2's throughout the year because they're still approaching the standard," Hampel said, adding parents wrongly equate "2's" with "C's."

"It may simply be (the standard) hasn't been taught yet or not long enough for it to be mastered yet," Superintendent Mark Denman added.

Hampel said data on the exit criteria for K-2 students is being collected and reviewed. In addition, grades 3-5 teachers will soon review proposed standards-based report cards for those students.

Both will be presented to the board for review later this month. If they're approved in May, they will be piloted in the 2013-14 school year.

Also at the meeting, board members will vote on whether to approve a proposed restructuring plan for Meade Park Elementary School.

The plan "involves the entire staff working to improve student achievements and outcomes," Denman said.

Under the proposed plan, a classroom would be converted into a schoolwide data room where pertinent school data will be on display to help guide decisionmaking regarding instruction. The data will be used to help staff track student progress, compare assessment results, spot problem areas and brainstorm solutions. The room will provide a venue for collaborative decisionmaking to drive instruction and result in increased student achievement.

Also, staff members would be trained in and begin using Robert Marzano's six-step process for teaching academic vocabulary. The program aims to build students' background knowledge in content area and better assist students in better comprehending the subject matter taught in school and assist the school in developing a common academic language consistent throughout the building.

In addition, staff will receive monthly professional development on the instruction model, and both primary and intermediate professional learning communities will shift their focus from teaching to improving student learning, setting short- and long-term goals for students, monitoring student progress and reporting results back to all staff members.

In other business, Denman said he may be ready to forward a recommendation for an assistant principal opening at Danville High School to the board.

Meeting set Wednesday

The Danville school board will meet at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Jackson Building, 516 N. Jackson St. A copy of the agenda is available online at http://bit.ly/Z6N7kO.

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