Schools may convert to trimester grading schedule (5/28/09)

May 28, 2009

By Tim Simard

Observer staff

The Williston School District could switch to a new way of reporting grades next school year. Williston Central School Principal Jackie Parks told the School Board that the district hopes to implement a system by which report cards are released three times a year.

The new trimester grading system would bring uniformity to the school district, Parks said, since academic houses all deliver report cards differently. Some houses release report cards twice a year, others do so four times a year, she said.

“Right now, it’s not consistent,” Parks told the board.

Parks said after the meeting that if the plan went into effect, parents and students would most likely receive report cards in November, March and June.

Board members said little, but appeared to support changes to the grade reporting system. The board does not need to give formal approval to the administrative change. The district administration hopes to finalize its decision over the summer.

Parks added that all houses continue to report student progress weekly, either through letters home or through e-mail.

“Parents do get a lot of information on a weekly basis,” Parks said.

Parks said she was excited about the changes because it would help the district’s grading system become uniform. The only downside Parks could see was that some houses reported quarterly, so moving to a trimester system would reduce those houses’ reporting practices.

“I believe the pros outweigh the cons in terms of the equity piece,” Parks told the board.

Lower houses would need a year to switch over their current reporting process to the new trimester grading system, Parks said. She said the houses need time to “streamline” their reporting, since their grading processes are so involved.

“The goal would be for everyone to be on the trimester (system) in 2010-2011,” Parks said.

Anticipating a change in the report card schedule, the board agreed to change the dates of parent conferences, which happen both in the fall and spring. These conferences fall on Fridays and are early release school days for students. The dates for next school year will be Oct. 9 and 16 for the fall conferences, and March 26 and April 9, 2010 for the spring conferences.