Parents in the Niagara Falls City School District will notice a few changes when their student’s first report card is mailed out the second week of November.

The changes, being done at the elementary and middle school levels, are minor compared to what’s in store for next year.

“That’s when we’re going to have big changes to the report card,” said Marcia Capone, the district’s assessment administrator.

Deputy Superintendent Cynthia Bianco said the changes are designed to make the report easier to read for every parent, but at the same time include as much information as possible on the two-sided notice. One thing is for sure, the days of seeing an “A, B or C” on a report card are long gone.

“It’s not that simple anymore,” said Bianco, adding those assessments have been replaced with items such as “below average, average and above average” and “mastery and proficiency.”

The changes being made this year will impact kindergarten through eighth grade. In most cases, they involve eliminating language to the document such as sub-objectives and key designations. Parents won’t notice a loss of information, but it will be easier to navigate, school officials said.

“Not everyone is going to understand the entire thing,” Bianco said. “But everyone generally understands ‘below average and above average,’ We’re trying to make them more clear, concise and simple.”

An average report card for a kindergarten student includes several different sections. The top half shows how they performed in English language arts, reading and writing based on several different state benchmarks. A nearby key describes the marks ranging from E for Exceeds Standards to W for Working Towards Standards and AR for At Risk.

The middle of the report card shows a series of needed math achievements for each 10-week marking period. If a student has mastered the skill, they receive a plus, and a delta if they’re proficient. If the skill hasn’t been reached, no symbol is given.

Finishing off the report card are a series of benchmarks dealing with personal growth, work habits and special areas such as art, music and physical education. These areas are graded based on a number key from 1 (consistently demonstrates) to 4 (not yet evaluated).

As the grade levels go up, so does the amount of directives, benchmarks and information on each report card.

After a few school board members expressed concerns the documents were too detailed and complicated for some people to read, Bianco pointed out it’s just one way to communicate a student’s performance. There’s also academic letters sent home, parent-teacher conferences and follow-up conversations throughout the year.

“Nothing is ever going to replace the value of a face-to-face discussion, but report cards are a very important notice to parents on how their child is doing in school,” Bianco said. “I don’t think you can do away with it.”

Trending Video

Recommended for you