Administrator’s corner: Reporting during the COVID-19 pandemic

Published 8:25 pm Friday, December 18, 2020

By Tonya Franks

Elementary report cards are right around the corner. During a typical school year, schools use a report card for teachers to share the child’s academic progress. But as we all know, this year has been anything but typical.

Tonya Franks

Due to distance learning in the spring, many students started school this fall not having mastered the previous grade level standards. This is not the fault of the student or the family but rather a result of the circumstances the pandemic placed before us as an educational institution and for families. Teachers poured their heart and soul into our students during distance learning this past spring; however, the reality is a distance learning environment can be challenging.  Therefore, not all students made the typical amount of progress as they would have in a typical school year.

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What do the numbers mean on your child’s report card?

• 4 = Exceeds grade level Minnesota standards

• 3 = Meets grade level Minnesota standards

• 2 = Partially meets grade level Minnesota standards

• 1 = Does not meet grade level Minnesota standards

• N/A = Not assessed at this time

What can parents expect to see on January report cards? 

• Typical reporting regarding mastery of grade level standards

• Extensive comments regarding student strengths and areas for growth

• Regardless of the instructional model, in person or distance learning, report cards are a reporting system. 

My child received a 1 or a 2. Does that mean my child is failing?

• Seeing a 1 or a 2 on your child’s report card does not indicate that the student did not make growth. It means they are not at grade level standards. We understand that is the reality of students across the country.

• We know our students are learning and growing every single day. Kim Larson, first-grade Distance Learning Academy teacher, recently shared that she had first-grade students starting a full year behind this fall but now they are at fall of first grade. That is a one-year growth in only half a school year. In this situation, a student may receive a 2 because they are partially meeting first-grade standards.  While this may not be on track yet, the growth is cause for celebration!

What can parents expect at February conferences?

Teachers will be engaging families in honest conversations about student progress and areas for growth. 

Teachers and parents will work together to identify learning goals for the student and action steps to meet those goals.

Partnerships and communication with our parents is essential. We believe you are an important part of your child’s school experience.

As you receive report cards in January, remember your students are making progress — however big or small.

Tonya Franks is principal of Halverson Elementary School.