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The system is switching to nine-week sessions, which one official called “an easy change.”
Thursday, February 14, 2013
Salem students will take home two fewer report cards next year.
The Salem School Board voted Tuesday to change from six six-week grading periods to four nine-week sessions beginning with the 2013-14 school year, said Curtis Hicks, the system’s director of secondary instruction.
Hicks said there are several reasons behind the change, chief among them being the fact that officials believe four nine-week periods will be a more accurate reflection of the work students are doing. The focus will be on students’ progress, not averaging of grades.
He also added parents have access to grades any time via Parent Portal, and schools officials are in contact with parents about students’ progress.
“In most cases the report card is just confirming what parents already know,” Hicks said. “Parents have a pretty good idea of where a child stands before report cards go home.”
He said that if there is an issue with how a student is doing, parents know.
“It’s never appropriate to wait nine weeks to address a problem,” he said.
Reducing marking periods will also allow teachers more flexibility for instruction by having less starting and ending points, Hicks said, and it will reduce the administrative burden of preparing reports so frequently.
“By reducing the number of reporting periods from six to four it greatly reduces the amount of administrative work behind the scenes to get grades ready,” he said.
Surrounding school divisions in Roanoke and Roanoke County currently operate on a nine-week schedule.
Hicks said Salem City Schools have had the six-week model since the system’s inception decades ago.
That long-standing practice will end in June.
Officials have been mulling the change since October. The board approved two calendars for next school year in December, one with six-week grading periods and the other with nine-week periods.
On Tuesday, Hicks said the board voted unanimously to begin using nine-week periods.
“It was an easy change,” he said.
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