Province wants to improve report card system

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Metro Halifax

HALIFAX — The report cards in the public school system have come under fire in recent months and one Halifax-area principal agrees there is room for improvement.

Education Minister Ramona Jennex speaks at a press conference at Ash Lee Jefferson Elementary School in Fall River on Tuesday.

“Anytime that we can be more clear in reporting out to parents is not a bad thing,” said Amy MacLeod, the principal at Ash Lee Jefferson Elementary School in Fall River, on Tuesday.

Criticisms have included that the report cards contain too much jargon.

At a news conference at the school, MacLeod pointed out teachers communicate with parents in a variety of ways about a student’s progress.

“As teachers, as administrators, we use other methods to communicate to parents and it should not just be on the report card,” she said. “That’s not the only vehicle. "Conversations, newsletters, parent-teacher interviews, emails, phone calls, there are so many different ways, chats in the hallway.”

Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Ramona Jennex announced Tuesday the province is looking for input from parents and teachers about how to improve the report card system.

People can submit their feedback to reportcard@gov.ns.ca or by mail.

“Government has heard some parents having concerns about our report cards,” said Jennex. “Report cards need to be clear, helpful and accessible for parents.”

A former teacher herself, Jennex did not provide any examples of potential changes that could be made.

Jennex did announce that a program which provides reading support to children would be expanded across the province to include Grade 3 students by the 2014-15 school year.

Succeeding in Reading helps schools quickly identify students who need assistance to improve oral language, reading and writing skills.

At present, the program is only available for children who are in Grade Primary through Grade 2.

While some schools will be able to offer Succeeding in Reading at the Grade 3 level this year, other schools won’t be able to roll out the enhanced programming until the next school year.

The cost of expanding the program is $6 million.

Organizations: Ash Lee Jefferson Elementary School, Grade 3

Geographic location: Fall River

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