Note from the Nest

Dr. Russell Young, Executive Principal

Happy Fall!

This time around I want to focus on the district’s new standards-based grading system and report card.  This is the first year this system is being used across all middle schools in MNPS (it was introduced in elementary schools last year).  The system is designed to align assignments and scores to the educational standards provided by the state for English, Math, Social Studies, and Science.

When I think about this system, I can’t help but think of my own experiences as a math student.  Throughout elementary school I always found math to be easy,  and I associated my math ability with the speed at which I was able to complete my math classwork (mostly math worksheets).  As I entered higher levels of math, I was no longer able to solve problems as quickly.  In 7th grade specifically I remember receiving B’s consistently in math.  To me, the B made sense.  I knew I wasn’t able to solve the problems very fast, and I also knew I understood some of what I was learning but not all of it.  However, the letter grade didn’t provide any insight into the areas where I could potentially grow and increase my understanding.  Over time I developed a very fixed mindset;  each B (or C) I got told me the same thing: I was just OK at math.

With a more detailed and informative report card, I might not have come to think of myself as a B student in math. We strive to utilize standards-based grading to encourage all of our students to pursue their academics with a growth mindset. The goal is to provide students with the feedback they need to continuously improve their performance.  

The first nine-week grading period ends October 5, and report cards will be coming home after fall break. This page on the MNPS website outlines the changes you will see on progress reports and report cards this year.  As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.