First, let me say how much we miss our students. I have heard from countless staff members and families how challenging this past week has been. We love our kids, we are passionate about teaching, and we are committed to our student’s future. This time away, while essential, has been hard on many of our educators and administrators. As you know, I visit with students regularly, so this has been quite a change for me as well. We know it has been challenging for you and your students as well, and we look forward to re-engaging shortly with you all in a new educational delivery model.
I am sending this letter to let you know we will not be providing our customary third quarter progress reports this year. To be clear, all work from the third quarter is important to final semester grades. Quarterly grades, like other forms of reporting, are designed to communicate student progress to parents, guardians, and families. During normal times, these quarterly benchmarks - provided at nine-week intervals - offer valuable information as schools and teachers team with parents to maximize our children’s education. As you know, the last four weeks have been anything but normal.
Second semester began on January 28th; our students were in their traditional classrooms for four weeks (plus a mid-winter break) before we transitioned to an online model. We then closed our building doors officially on March 13th by order of the governor. While we know students have been doing valuable and important work, we also know there is limited information to accurately communicate their progress. Sending out progress reports to families at this time would likely not only provide inaccurate information, it would increase stress for students, families, and teachers. During this time, we need to focus our efforts and attention on maximizing learning opportunities and decreasing stress in every way we can. In this regard, it is important to note that third quarter grades do not appear on transcripts, nor are they reported to colleges and universities.
Typically, Special Education teachers report IEP goal progress at the same time as general education teachers report progress. Due to general education teachers not reporting progress for the third quarter, Special Education teachers will also not be reporting IEP goal progress at this time.
We recognize that the significant changes we are experiencing call for us to rethink how we evaluate performance, in all areas of our educational system. As we work to create a new educational delivery model that we hope will support our students and staff for as long as necessary, it will be important to identify new mechanisms to assess and communicate progress, especially for students close to important milestones like graduation. Please continue to work with us, as you have this past month, as we chart new territory in instruction, learning, assessment, and communication. Our priority has always been, and continues to be, to serve and educate our students and community for the future, in every path that takes.
Imagine the possibilities…
Michelle Reid, Ed.D.
Northshore School District