To support students in developing higher-order thinking skills and to redefine learning not just as what students know but what they can do with what they know, Rockford Public Schools (RPS) 205 implemented a standards-based grading system in its 28 elementary schools. Five years after the launch of this initiative, RPS 205’s Board of Education mandated the district move forward with implementing the eSchoolPLUS Home Access Center portal for sharing student data with families.
According to Diana Alt, RPS 205’s executive director of learning who oversees the curriculum at all of the district’s elementary schools, the goal of the board’s initiative was to partner more closely with parents and guardians and increase the transparency of the scoring process. “Our board wanted parents to be able to access their students’ grades online,” she explained. “That was the impetus for trying to figure out how standards-based grading would work in an electronic grading system setup.”
As the result of this initiative, RPS 205’s 28 elementary schools transitioned from a cumbersome, labor-intensive manual process, which relied on Excel spreadsheets for tracking scores for report cards, to an automated, web-based system. This effort paved the way for efficiencies and greater collaboration with parents and students.
At the launch of a major initiative like this, Chris Taskey, RPS 205’s information services coordinator, recommended creating a committee involving a diverse group of stakeholders, from all levels and departments. “It’s extremely important that the committee members talk to school districts that have had success with implementing the software,” he said. “Everyone has best practices, but their best practices are not going to be your best practices. From these conversations, you can pick and choose and make your own plan.”
Learn more about RPS 205's initiative and their best practices for an edtech rollout in our latest success story, which can be found at THIS LINK.