Communicating with Students and Parents (Secondary Grading and Reporting)

Articulation of expectations and opportunities for communications between teachers, parents and students related to student academic achievement, work habits and behavior.

Effective communication is essential to create strong school-home partnerships and to increase parental involvement to support student learning.  Teachers use a variety of strategies to make communication with parents as informative and interactive as possible, while also providing face-to-face opportunities such as parent/teacher conferences. As student’s progress in age and grade level, there is an increased responsibility for each student to actively communicate with parents and teachers regarding academic progress and/or concerns.  Every communication exchange, regardless of format, is an opportunity for the school and teachers to promote parent partnerships and, ultimately, support student learning and achievement. Interpreters should be made available to bridge language gaps so that all families can meaningfully engage in communication about their student's education and progress.

Beginning of School Year Communication

Teachers will communicate their designed method for determining quarter and final grades to students and parents in writing at the beginning of each school year and at the beginning of each semester course.  This is typically in the form of a class syllabus.
This communication must include:

  • Gradebook Type:  Traditional or Rolling (cumulative) 
    • How the quarter grade will be determined (e.g., the weighting of tests, assignments, etc. and if using a rolling (cumulative) gradebook, an explanation of what the quarter grade represents.)
    • How the final grade will be determined (e.g. Weighting of quarters (for traditional gradebook), final exam, etc.)
  • Retake/Revision Policy
  • Late Work Policy
  • Make Up Work Policy
  • Indicate the amount of time (generally within 7 school days) students/parents may see posted grades in the electronic gradebook (SIS StudentVue & ParentVue) following an assignment deadline or assessment.
  • Summary of what the students will be expected to know and be able to do at the end of the course

Timely Recording of Grades

Quizzes, tests, examinations, essays, homework, or papers are evaluated and/or graded, returned, and reviewed promptly with the student. Teachers are expected to grade assignments and post grades to the electronic gradebook within seven school days after the due date with the understanding that major projects/papers may require additional time to ensure quality feedback.  To ensure that teachers can grade major projects/papers within these expectations, teachers are encouraged to stagger due dates by class sections.

Ongoing Access to Grades through Student Information System (SIS)

The SIS Parent Account provides up to date parent and guardian access to their child’s student information, including attendance, report cards, class schedules, gradebook, course history, discipline, health, and school information, establishing another form of communication between home and school. Parents use the same username and password as the login for both SIS and FCPS 24-7 Learning. To create an account that will allow access to both, parents should contact their school for an activation key.  

Parents with SIS Parents Accounts will automatically receive regular email progress reports with course grades to date.  These progress reports will replace the interims that were generated in the past.  Parents may log into their account to set their delivery preferences. It is important to note, that parents must opt in to receive SIS updates by first setting up their SIS ParentVue.  If a parent does not opt in to receive SIS updates, they will not receive weekly school-generated progress reports. Schools will need to make accommodations for parents who do not have accounts. 

SIS StudentVue provides students in grades 7 through 12 an electronic view of their personal school information including attendance, grades, gradebook, schedules, health information, and more using this resource.  Students use their FCPS network account to access SIS StudentVue.  More information can be found by visiting this site: https://www.fcps.edu/student-information-system-sis 

Report Cards

Report cards are issued four times a year at nine-week intervals to communicate student academic achievement to date based on curriculum objectives. They will be hand-carried by students or mailed directly to students’ parents or guardians or hand-carried by students upon personal request.  The principal of each school will publicize to parents the dates that report cards will be issued to students. 

No student should fail a subject during any nine-week period without the teacher making contact with the parent or guardian via written correspondence or email, phone call, or conference.  Contact should be timely and in a language the parent can understand (reference SIS for correspondence language) and use an interpreter as appropriate.  A report card grade will be a letter grade. Information about how report card grades are determined can be found in the Determining Quarter and Final Grades section. 

Conferences

The purpose of a parent-teacher conference is to develop a mutual understanding of various aspects of the student’s progress and to encourage cooperative planning toward effective solutions of problems that may exist.  A conference may be initiated by parents, teacher(s), or school counselor. Parents, teachers, or students may request that school counselors and/or administrators attend a conference. The student should attend the conference or part of the conference as appropriate.  Interpreters should be made available to bridge language gaps so that all families can meaningfully engage in communication about their student's education and progress   

Information shared by school staff should supplement report card information and communicate realistic appraisals, stating strengths as well as areas for improvement. This may include information related to attendance, work habits, and behavior. At the conference, the teacher(s) will bring a progress report and have samples of the student’s work when appropriate.  If present at the conference, the school counselor will be prepared to discuss the student’s overall performance and, with the teacher, suggest strategies for improvement.