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School Board 25 changes report cards after review

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In its continual fight to keep abreast with the changes occurring in the district, School Board 25 recently released its latest set of alterations to elementary school report cards.

Two years ago, School Board 25, which covers Flushing, Whitestone, College Point, Bay Terrace and parts of Auburndale and Fresh Meadows, stopped using the standard Board of Education report cards. According to Harvey Sherer, Deputy Superintendent for School Board 25, the old Board of Education cards no longer fit the needs of the district.

“The Board of Education was way out of line with new promotional standards,” said Sherer. “There’s no comparison between the two.”

The latest changes reflect feedback that the school board has received about its own cards.

School Board 25 has enjoyed relative success in recent years. Its most recent reading scores are the second highest in Queens and the third highest in the city.

But facing a larger population of immigrant students in schools, schools are making efforts to keep in communication with the parents of their students, many of whom do not speak English.

Sherer said the report cards, which will be translated into Chinese, Korean and Spanish when sent out Dec. 17, are an attempt to strengthen communication between schools and parents. He added that such communication would benefit students.

“The level of involvement of parents with the school is the major measure of success that children experience in the school, and the report card is an important part of that involvement,” he said.

As compared to last year’s report card, the new card features a “Family Support” box, which asks parents to check to see that their child’s homework is done and organized.

Almost all of the changes to the card are designed to increase clarity.

The card no longer uses letters to stand for words such as “Excellent” and “Failing” but uses a number system from four to one, with four being the highest score. It is the same number system that teachers use to grade tests.

Two boxes have been added to the card, one for English-as-a-second-language students and the other for students performing poorly and receiving academic intervention services.

Some of the descriptors, specific skills listed under a general area, have also been changed in attempt to eliminate repetition, said Jane Reiff, co-president of both the district’s Parents Association and Parent Teachers Association.

Additionally, the design of the cards have been altered so that there are fewer boxes on the card, making for a smaller card.

According to Sherer, the report cards have taken on a new shape because many different organizations contributed to their creation.

“It’s innovative in the sense that it’s the result of all the input of constituent organizations in the district. It’s not unilateral.”

“Everything was taken into consideration, and it works well,” said Reiff, who helped work on the card.

Reiff, who said she was happy with the look of the card, agreed with Sherer about the importance of a clear report card.

“It’s very important for the parents to understand what the teachers are looking at in the children.”

Reach Reporter Alexander Dworkowitz by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 141.

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