Every school sends out report cards to the parents of the students at the end of the school 🏫 year to provide reports about the progress their child has made in academics and other aspects of school life.
But has it ever occured to you that some parents have withdrawn their children from schools just because of poorly presented report cards? You see, the students progress report can be viewed as a marketing tool for your school, and when you see it that way, it makes a huge difference how you approach it.
The fact is, parents look forward to seeing the progress their child has made in school in the school year, and would like to see this presented in a very professional manner by the teachers. The comments the teachers and head teachers make about their child is very important, too. For some parents, this justifies why their child is in your school and why they pay the fees they do.
How would you feel as a parent if you received a report card of your child that was filled with grammatical errors, and poor or very unprofessional remarks about your child? It's not a nice feeling to read unedited report card comments.
You need to be mindful because these report cards become documents that are kept by the parents of the child for a very long time and are eventually handed to the child when he/she is about to leave home as an adult. I still have my report cards from as far back as primary school (Priamry One to be exact!). They become a keepsake and should be taken seriously.
So, what can you do as a school administrator to ensure that your teachers produce quality report cards that appeal to the parents and that do not infuriate them enough to cause them to consider withdrawing their children from your school?
Here are a few tips that'll help you as an administrator:
1. Develop a report card policy to set the standard that is required of teachers in producing excellent report cards in your school.
From the point of entry into the organisation, ensure that it forms a part of your orientation process to train all staff about professonal report card writing. That way, the expectation is set from the beginning and there's no doubt about it.
2. Retrain the teachers on report card writing midway in the school year and you may do a refresher towards the end of the session. That way, it stays fresh in their memories and helps to emphasize how much value you place on professionally prepared report cards in your school. During the training, emphasise how it is done in each section of the school. For example, report card comments for preschoolers would be vastly different for those of students in an elementary school or college. Report card comments should be age-appropriate based on the developmental milestones and expected achievemens for the children at every level.
3. Provide the right templates to the teachers to guide them, and provide sample report card coments they can take a cue from.
4. If there is a boarding house, please prepare a special report on each child from the boarding house masters and matrons, or other relevant staff. This should focus on how seriously they have handled their academic work, how well they related with the students and the boarding house staff. Their bahaviour and attitude should be properly assesed.
5. Have a team that edits all report card comments before they go out. This team should be carefully chosen and should be made of a few teachers and the management team who have strengths in writing and editing and paying attention to detail. They should be given a clear deadline during which the job should be delivered. Ensure to include report card editing in your school's internal calendar.
6. Should there be any complaints from the parents, please ensure you have a designated person the parents can complain to about any issues with report cards. That's how important report cards are to the parents of the students; so the school needs to take this seriously.
7. Penalise teachers who do not produce the acceptable standard of report cards even after repeated training on this subject. This is to guard against them deliberately dumping poor qaulity work on the team that'll do the editing.
8. Finally, do not beat yourself up if the report cards are not sent to the parents on the last day of school. While working at this as your target, do not compromise quality for speed. It is better to have the report cards going to the parents a week or so after the close of school, than to send out poor qaulity work.
I hope this helps.
I have trained some teams on excellent professional report card writing. Would you like me to train your team? This can be done in person or virtually.
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