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A childâs first introduction into a classroom is often the first day of kindergarten and teachers in Whitley County Consolidated Schools are beefing up the way these youngsters are evaluated.
Mary Raber Elementary School Principal Julie Turpin presented a new kindergarten report card to the school corporationâs Board of School Trustees during the panelâs Monday work session.
According to Turpin, a team of kindergarten teachers from the districtâs four elementary schools collaborated to create a new Kindergarten Common Assessments Midterm and Report Card. She presented the background and implementation of the system to the board on Monday.
âAs a parent, you can see where we are and where we want to go,â Turpin told the board. âKindergarten is no longer about just hopping around on one foot.â
The assessments, which come midterm and at semesterâs end, were formerly done each quarter.
They rate the students with either an âSâ for satisfactory or an âNâ for needs improvement. A mark of âIâ means the student is improving.
They assess the youngsters on such basic skills as counting, identifying colors and shapes and printing their name.
Socially, the students are expected to engage in active listening, using self-control, staying on task and following procedures as well as numerous other social skills.
âOur kindergarten teachers have been assessing students individually on the state standards for years, and reporting that progress to parents by attaching copies of their assessments to our previous district (kindergarten) midterms and report cards,â said Turpin.
Turpin said those teachers âtook the initiative to ask for updated midterms and report cards to include all of this assessment information on one page as the midterm and report card to clearly communicate the kindergarten curriculum, studentsâ progress in mastering the state standards throughout the year and to identify skills in need of additional practice.â
Turpin said after the midterms and report cards were created, the assessments were updated to reflect the sequential order of the midterm and report card.
âStudent mastery of state standards is assessed one-on-one using manipulatives, letter cards, etc. and student responses are recorded on the assessment sheets,â she said.
Turpin said she canât say enough about the effort her teachers have put into the assessments.
âWe appreciate the initiative, collaboration, work, care, time and expertise our kindergarten teachers shared to develop these documents for our parents, students and district,â she said.
The assessments have been honed and perfected by the teachers, said Turpin. But itâs the end user â mom and dad, who have the final nod of approval.
âIâve been very pleased with the communication weâve gotten from the school,â said Sharon Miley, whose daughter Abby attends kindergarten at Mary Raber.
âAbby has struggled with social anxiety and went through a year and a half of pre-school and never talked to anyone. Now, sheâs raising her hand in class, waving to people and really looking forward to school when in pre-school, she didnât want to go.â
Miley said the teachers at her daughterâs school were proactive in helping Abby develop both as student and as a citizen from day one.
âThey have all been wonderful about âwhat can we do to help Abby?ââ
As her daughter progresses, Miley said she takes advantage of every tool available in helping young Abby continue to improve.
âThey just recently had a family night and it was interesting to see how they learn, not just what they learn,â she said.
Miley said she believes the assessments give her a perfect window into Abbyâs classroom, allowing her to witness each new step along the way.
âIt helps explain this explosion of knowledge that Abby has gotten recently.
âIâve gotten really great communication from them on how sheâs doing, not only academically but socially as well.â