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New grading system gives parents of K-2 students better grasp of strong, weak areas

Rick Wagner • Sep 15, 2013 at 9:51 PM

BLOUNTVILLE — Some elementary school report cards in a local system this year will have “I can” statements rather than just a numerical or letter grade.

Parents of Sullivan County students in grades K-2 are getting a new standards-based report card.

Assistant Director of Teaching and Learning David Timbs told the county Board of Education the change is not necessarily driven by Common Core but is a major change in how K-2 grades are explained to parents.

He said the new format will be discussed during upcoming parent-teacher conferences Sept. 19 and rolled out soon on the school system’s website, www.sullivank12.net.

“I can recognize numbers 0-5,” “I can produce sounds for the letters of the alphabet” and “I can spell simple words” are tangible things easily understood by parents and students, Timbs said.

Mostly addressing reading/language arts and math — as Common Core coming in 2014 does — Timbs said 0-to-4 scores on the “I can” system will let parents and students know how students are doing on standards throughout the school year.

BOE members at a Sept. 5 work session asked for some information about the new report cards. They will go out at the end of the first nine weeks, and the halfway point of that period is roughly the Sept. 19 parent-teacher conferences.

“We had almost 40 teachers representing all schools partner with our curriculum specialists and elementary principals beginning last spring to develop and refine these,” Timbs said Friday.

“We continue to be very excited about this approach as we believe it will really give parents the most detailed information about their child’s progress and help them see what they can work on at home to improve skills.”

Read more of this story in Sunday's print edition of the Times-News or the expanded electronic edition.

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