In 2015 Kindergarten teachers began researching alternate report cards that would provide skill mastery information to families. This led to a multi-year task force of teacher work groups dedicated to moving to a standards-based instruction and reporting process. The first Kindergarten report card was released in January 2018 and Grades 1-4 unveiled their new report cards in November 2018. The initial feedback from K-4 parents was resoundingly positive.
THE MOVEMENT GROWS
Starting in 2018 departments at Belgrade Middle School began to receive training and have time to work on developing the components of a standards aligned system. As of December 2019 all middle school departments have received at least initial training on the SBI process and have begun to plan for a standards based report card to be published in the Fall of 2021. The majority of department heads in both schools have received training in the PLC process which compliments our work with standards.
Belgrade administrators were trained in PLC and SBI during 2019. This is a critical step as the district has scheduled PLC time each Friday for the first time in history. This hour is dedicated to professional development, data analysis and planning that will positively impact student achievement.
The move to standards referenced instruction was a deliberate choice to:
- Increase clarity for teachers and parents about what is learned and reported.
- Use assessment to guide instruction rather than just provide an averaged grade.
- Provide an improved tool for communicating student achievement to families.
- Separate academic achievement from behavior and other factors.
Belgrade administrators are committed to supporting the growth of the Standards model to all schools. There are added challenges at the Middle School and High School, but the advantages listed above will compensate for the challenges of implementation.
The responsibility for implementing SBI in the district lies with the Curriculum Director supported by each building principal. In addition, teachers play a critical role as developers of prioritized (reported ) standards, assessment tools, tracking forms, and instructional resources. Two representatives from each grade level at each building serve on a K-4 SBI Team. At the middle school and high school, departments will comprise their own implementation teams. Professional development and paid work time are key components of our implementation plans.
Recognizing that implementation of a new approach is a challenge given our lack of curriculum support staff, work time, and PD. The following next steps reflect the order in which the process will likely unfold:
- K-4 ELA & Math Report Card - 2018
- 5-8 Report Card / K-4 add other subjects - projected 2021-22
- 9-12 Standards based instruction implemented - projected 2022-23
- 9-12 Standards based report card to follow
Parent Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What are standards?
Standards are simply what we expect students to know and be able to do.
Q: Are all standards of equal importance?
A: No, a team of local teachers decides which standards fit into the following three categories:
- Standards - taught, informally assessed
- Supporting standards - taught, assessed and tracked
- Priority Standards - taught, assessed and reported on a report card
Q: If only some standards are included on the report card, are the other just not being taught?
A: Teachers are responsible for teaching all the Montana standards for their subject area. There are some standards that are selected for their importance, so the results of those assessments are reported to parents.
Q: When will all the district schools have a standards based report card?
A: It is our intention to move this process along as soon as feasible, but the pandemic has delayed our implementation. We hope to be able to pick the work back up during the Summer of 2021 and move forward from there.