By Carlye Nelson-Major, Associate Head of School
As a progressive school, The Philadelphia School is committed to continually examining its programs, practices, and policies, with a lens to assess their strengths, challenges, and opportunities. Our new progress report format was the result of the work conducted over the past two years by a report inquiry group made up of teachers from all units and led by Jeffrey Mordan.
The progress report inquiry group examined our own narrative reports and those used by other schools across the country. Research into the history of our school’s format for student reports revealed that this has been an area of continuous reflection; various iterations of checklists and narratives have existed over the past four decades.
We continued that reflective tradition with the goal of developing an improved progress reporting tool that would more clearly offer cohesive, detailed skill development information across the grades. The resulting reporting tool is closely aligned with our curriculum map benchmarks, better communicates grade level skill development, and has a more succinct “growth mindset” narrative in each discipline area.The inquiry group piloted this new report format for students in grades 1, 2, and 7 last year. Parent and faculty feedback was universally positive, so we have moved out of the pilot phase into introducing the new format to all grades this year.The preschool’s report format is slightly different for developmental reasons but has also changed to include bulleted benchmarks and more concise narratives. As is customary, Middle School reports were written and made available to families the week before winter break; the reports for all other grades will be completed by early February.
Our new report format for grades 1-8 includes a context paragraph, a learning continuum section, and a short narrative for each discipline. The context paragraph offers a curricular overview of that discipline. The learning continuums identify discrete skills or abilities in each subject area; progress in these skills are individually assessed through the use of four categories (identified area of concern, progressing with support, working toward independence, and independently/consistently). The four categories represent a developmental trajectory and do not connote traditional grades.The narrative comments that appear below the continuums section briefly describe your child’s progress to date, effort, and goals for moving ahead.
The faculty is to be applauded for their insight, effort, and commitment to improve communication around student progress. We recognize that we still have work to further customize this tool, but we feel like it is a more comprehensive and consistent approach to sharing information about our students. We hope you feel well informed.