Elementary: Why There Are No Letter Grades On This Report Card

ArushaTimes News

For the past number of years (though sadly not this year), Grade 6 has used third term to conduct an in-depth look into the first few chapters of Revelation: John’s vision, the letters to the seven churches, and the throne room of Heaven. It’s a powerful section, and despite the symbolism, incredibly practical for day-to-day living. The seven letters in particular relate to so many aspects of life, even how we construct report cards.

Stop for a moment.

Can you imagine receiving a report card from Jesus?! Perhaps you had a teacher who claimed to have eyes in the back of her head. But Jesus actually sees, hears, and knows everything. He walks amoung his people and knows them intimately. If I had to bring home a report card from Jesus, I’d be pretty nervous.

But the letters Jesus sent to the seven churches were not a final judgment. They were a snapshot in time, and each church was given grace and time to reflect and respond.

This is our hope too.

Report cards that go out from John Knox are a snapshot in time of your child’s current academic progress. They are a call to praise what is good, and a reminder to work through what is challenging.

When viewing your child’s final report card, you may find yourself scanning and rescanning the pages, searching in vain for letter grades. Don’t worry; we didn’t forget. This term has been rather unique. We have transitioned from a physical environment, where face-to-face interactions and in-person observations took place six hours a day, five days a week, to a digital environment, where time-constrained interactions via unstable Internet connections took place on a little screen.

Rest assured, staff poured tremendous time and effort into creating a robust off-site learning platform. Letter grades are so much more than marks and percentages, and with the added nuance of families self-isolating and social distancing, the thought of reducing student progress into letter grades did not seem accurate or helpful.

That being said, the absence of letter grades will not diminish the importance or veracity of this report card. We have been very intentional about ensuring our literacy and numeracy focused curriculum maintain grade level expectations, and that our assessment practices match the curriculum and current circumstances in which we find ourselves. That means you will read through thoughtful teacher observations and contemplative reflections. You will also find we follow the same basic outline set by Jesus in His letters to the churches: We will highlight areas of strength and success; we will address areas still needing growth; we will share suggestions for the future, and we will proclaim joyous calls to persevere.

We have had a truly memorable experience these past twelve weeks. As you review your child’s report card together, rejoice over what is good; make plans to address what needs growth; praise God for what he has brought you through – and for what He will bring you through.

Jacob Rodgers, Grade 6 Intermediate Admin