'A' being replaced by 'E': Giliford El moving to 'standards-based' grading

GILFORD —  Gilford Elementary School students will start bringing home a new "standards-based" report card this coming fall, which educators who have developed the new report card say will provide parents with more information about how their child is progressing.
Parents will find out more details about the change when they receive an open house flyer in August according to Ellen Peters, a third grade teacher at the elementary school who was a member of the committee which worked over the last two years to develop the new report card.
Katie Bryant, a fourth grade teacher who was also part of the tean, said that the committee worked with grade level teams to develop standards for what students should know and the skills that they should be developing in the areas of reading, writing, math, science and social studies.
She said currently students receive grades in three different categories; academics, effort and work habits. The new report cards give grades based on how to a student is performing in relation to the grade level standards which the team has developed.
''This will give students and parents a guide for what is expected academically,'' said Bryant, who said that the standards change over the course of the academic year to reflect changes in curriculum content.
Students who have not yet been introduced to the standards will receive a N/A, Not Applicable, in many subject areas in the first two marking periods as the learning standards are being phased in over the year.
The grades which will be given will include B, for Beginning in which minimal understanding is shown, D, for Developing which shows some understanding of grade-level expectations,  P for Proficient, when a thorough understanding of standards is demonstrated , and E  for Exceeds, when a student demonstrates an in-depth understanding and shows self-motivation as well as creative and new ways of thinking.
The report cards will also provide information on student work habits in the classroom as well as physical education, music, art, computers and library according to Gilford Elementary School Principal Danielle Bolduc.
She said that the new report cards have been developed as response to the new and more challenging Common Core standards and reflect the need to align classroom instruction, assessment and feedback to students and families with the rigorous standards in order to improve teaching and learning.
At the start of Monday night's meeting Superintendent of Schools Kent Hemingway presented a bouquet of flowers to Esther Kennedy, director of student services for the Gilford School District, in recognition of her winning the Distinguished Graduate Teaching Award at Plymouth State University, where she has been a member of the faculty since 2005.
Kennedy, who won the N.H. Special Education Director of the Year Award in 2006, said that much of her teaching at PSU reflects her everyday experience in the Gilford School District  and that has helped facilitate the next generation of special education teachers.

Gilford Superintendent of Schools Kent Hemingway presents a bouquet of flowers to Esther Kennedy, director of student services for the Gilford School District, in recognition of her winning the Distinguished Graduate Teaching Award at Plymouth State University, where she has been a member of the faculty since 2005. Kennedy won the NH Special Education Director of the Year Award in 2006. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)