Everybody likes to bring home those A's and B's on their report cards.
But a new style of report card is coming out next month for Lawrence elementary students that goes far beyond the old-style letter grades.
How extensive is it?
On a fourth-grade report card, instead of just getting a single letter grade for language arts, the report card has 18 other boxes to measure students' academic progress - in such areas as vocabulary, comprehension and writing. In addition to the traditional letter grade for each subject, assessments such as E for "exhibits consistent strength in the standards/indicators" will be given for subordinate categories.
And then on the back of the report card are 15 more boxes that measure a student's classroom behavior, detailing skills ranging from listening to following directions to turning work in on time.
The new progress reports were given high marks by Lawrence's school board Monday night.
"This is so much more and better information than I remember getting," said Sue Morgan, board president.
Rich Minder, another board member, said he remembers getting only one letter in behavior - in citizenship.
The new report cards are coinciding with another major grading change in Lawrence - going to trimester reports, rather than quarterly reports, said Tom Christie, executive director of educational programming and curriculum.
Christie and Terri Durgan, a fourth-grade teacher at Quail Run School, explained that the new report cards have been developed over the last five years by "cadres" of Lawrence teachers. And Christie said Durgan also got input from educational experts around the country during that time.
"We're trying to keep the terminology relevant and as simple as we can," Christie said.
Board member John Mitchell asked whether grades for art and music would also have much more information than in the past.
"We're all speaking the same language," Christie said.
Board member Craig Grant wondered if the next step would be to put grade reports online. Christie said the school district is already looking into ways that will be done in the future.
Adela Solis, president of the Lawrence Education Assn., and Christie said that in the trimester schedule, progress reports will be provided to parents three times during the school year.
The goal of going to trimesters instead of quarters is to give teachers a longer period of time to get to know students and their specific needs before assigning grades, they said.
In other action, Chris Squier, Safe Schools/Healthy Students project director, told the board that a bullying prevention program is showing success at Langston Hughes and Woodlawn schools.
The program, the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program, has reduced bullying behaviors in both schools by more than 50 percent in its first year, Squier said.
"Our school has more of a family atmosphere now," said Reenie Stogsdill, a physical education teacher at Langston Hughes.