Parents getting first look at new Howell report card

BY JAMES McEVOY
Staff Writer

HOWELL — As a new type of report card was about to go home with secondgraders for the first time on Nov. 18, members of the Howell K-8 School District’s report card committee reported positive feedback on the new report card from teachers and administrators.

Dheranie Suarez, vice principal of Howell Middle School South, provided an update about the school district’s new style of report card to members of the Education/ Educational Technology Committee at its Nov. 17 meeting.

The new report card will highlight a student’s strengths and weaknesses. It will list the most important skills students should learn in each subject at a particular grade level. The students will receive a separate mark for each standard that is taught during the marking period.

“We have gotten some really great feedback,” Suarez said. “The teachers were trained on how to use it and to grade and report out on the system.”

First-grade report cards will go out in February after the second marking period concludes, she told the committee.

The district will continue to pilot the new standards-based report cards in the third marking period in the hope of having full implementation by September 2012, Suarez said.

Joseph Isola, assistant superintendent of curriculum and personnel, praised the efforts of the report card committee as well as all the support staff for keeping parents informed.

“There is an enormous commitment to community awareness about this because it is a change, and change is often unsettling,” Isola said.

He noted that Howell’s new report cards are aligning with new national standards.

“The fact that [the Howell initiative] is aligning with the roll-out of the common core national standards has really been a blessing for this initiative because it becomes so much more meaningful,” he said. “I can’t tell you how pleased I am with their efforts to roll up their sleeves and really start to understand this and ask tough questions of us.”

Retired educator Chuck Welsh, a former principal of the Howell Memorial Middle School, is serving as a citizen member of the report card committee. He said the new report cards are cutting-edge in the field of student evaluation.

“This is a hugely progressive step, and I think the committee deserves a lot of credit for going there,” Welsh said. “This is a big step forward.”

— Contact James McEvoy at jmcevoy@gmnews.com.