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Liverpool, North Syracuse head back to school

Abby Stock, who is entering Mrs. Fluent's second grade class at Soule Road Elementary in Liverpool, fills out a worksheet as part of Find Your Classroom Day on Aug. 30. Liverpool started classes Tuesday, Sept. 4. North Syracuse starts Thursday, Sept. 6.

Abby Stock, who is entering Mrs. Fluent's second grade class at Soule Road Elementary in Liverpool, fills out a worksheet as part of Find Your Classroom Day on Aug. 30. Liverpool started classes Tuesday, Sept. 4. North Syracuse starts Thursday, Sept. 6. Photo by Sarah Hall.

— “The new report cards are much more specific and give a better picture of the child as a learner,” said Steven Garraffo, executive director for elementary education and curriculum development for the LCSD. “Parents will be able to identify their child's strengths and weakness in a particular subject area. Additionally, the standards on the report card directly correlate with what is being taught in the classroom and also allow parents to better understand grade-level expectations.”

Garraffo said schools statewide are changing their elementary assessment systems because of the adoption of the Common Core Learning Standards.

“These standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what K-12 students are expected to learn,” he said. “These new standards and increased expectations for students call for a more specific report card that aligns with the New York state standards and assesses what students need to know at each grade level. The grades on the report card are similar to the evaluation system of a 4, 3, 2 or 1 that students receive on state assessments. The standards-based report card will allow parents to see if their child is meeting the grade-level expectations and then work with teachers to make any necessary improvements.”

Garraffo noted that the new 4-3-2-1 evaluation key does not translate to a specific letter grade — i.e., “4” does not equal “A,” and so on — but rather represent a child’s progress toward a specific standard.

“A ‘3’ on the new report card indicates that a child is meeting grade-level expectations for a specific standard,” Garraffo said.

In addition, the new trimester system will also help both students and teachers prepare for state assessments.

“The extended time between report cards allows teachers more flexibility in instruction and curriculum and gives students more time to meet the established grade-level expectations,” Garraffo said. “The later date for the first report card provides a longer period of acclimation, giving students the opportunity to become familiar with the school routine and their teachers before assessments and evaluations are completed. This promotes more meaningful and detailed conferences, as teachers and parents have a greater chance of identifying and correcting areas of concern during the trimester. The bottom line is the trimester schedule will allow teachers more time to work with students and provide a more accurate description of the child as a learner. This differs from the old first quarter report card where teachers were evaluating students after only working with them for a short while and having limited data to create their reports.”

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