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Report Card Night draws parents to Boonsboro High

January 29, 1999

Report card nightBy BRUCE HAMILTON / Staff Writer

photo: JOE CROCETTA / staff photographer




Report cards typically are sent home with students, but Boonsboro High School tried something different Thursday night.

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The school cut out the middlemen and gave out grades straight from the source during its first "Report Card Night."

From 6 to 9 p.m., parents were invited to visit, pick up report cards and meet briefly with any of the 48 teachers present.

"This is a good idea," said Sandra Gagliardi, holding a thin yellow paper that bore her sophomore son's marks.

She said she liked hearing more than a simple letter. "A grade is good but it doesn't tell you everything," Gagliardi said.

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By 8 p.m., more than 100 families had already roamed the hallways. Parents came alone, in couples, and with and without their kids.

"At this point of the year, you don't know what to expect," said Gagliardi.

At the start of the school year, there is no way to tell how a student is doing, she said. A January meeting provides perspective and pinpoints progress.

After a meeting with chemistry teacher Sam Lucas, Gagliardi gave a thumbs up. "He knows my child," she said.

"If you sit down with a teacher, you get the other side of it," said Principal Helen Becker. "It's an accountability issue."

With teachers, students and parents present, there is little opportunity for misunderstanding, she said.

"This says, 'Let us into your lives. Work with us,'" Becker said. For students who are doing poorly, "at this time of the year, they can still turn it around."

But Report Card Night wasn't only for fixing problems.

"We also wanted to meet with kids who are doing fine," Becker said.

Social studies teacher Chip Dickey agreed. "A lot of times when you meet with parents, they don't get to hear the good stuff," he said. "It's usually when there's a problem."

On Thursday night, parents got to hear the good stuff: Praise.

But Report Card Night "is not meant to be in depth," Dickey said.

It was intended to be more of a "snapshot" and to give "parents the chance to say, 'is there a time I can meet with you?'"

Parents were encouraged to schedule conferences if they wanted more than 10 minutes with a teacher.

Boonsboro may be the only local high school holding a Report Card Night. Becker said she knows of no others in the county doing something similar.

Asked if they liked the event, students accompanied by their parents also gave positive responses.

"I think it's good for teachers to have contact with parents," said Eric Gearhart, a junior who was there with his father, Robert. "I hope they keep doing it."

"It is our responsibility to be a part of and respond to the community we serve," Becker said. "Whatever we can do to increase confidence and ensure that kids are receiving the best education possible, we're ready to do it. It's our job."

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