Report cards due in homes this week

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 11, 2010

For students who attended, what they learned during last week’s intercession days will show up when report cards are issued this week by the Vicksburg Warren School District.

Elementary students’ report cards will be sent home Wednesday in their weekly work folders, while junior high and high school students will be given their report cards Thursday in their homeroom classes, Superintendent Dr. James Price said.

Grades cover the second nine-week term of the year, which wrapped up Dec. 18 when students were sent home for the Christmas break.

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Students that had difficulty passing the district’s tests of benchmark skills were offered a second chance last week with intercession classes Monday through Wednesday. Elementary students were given extra help in math and reading, junior high students in math and English.

Students’ performance at intercession classes are reflected on their report cards, Price said.

Attendance numbers released by the district showed 376 grade 3 through 6 students took advantage of the extra help classes, less than half of the 809 who were eligible. Of those, 279 received help with math and 97 with reading.

The total is down from October, when 564 elementary students attended intercession, and from last year, when 639 students attended the first intercession and 676 the second.

This is the second year the district has offered remedial classes in this format — two to four half-days of extra help offered at the end of each nine-week period. At the elementary and junior high levels, the strategy is aimed at helping struggling students master skills before they go on to the next term. High school students are given extra help to prepare for state-mandated subject area tests in algebra, biology, U.S. history and English.

Attendance at intercession is not mandatory and has declined with each session. At upcoming meetings, school administrators will discuss whether to continue intercession for a third year or scrap it for a different method, Price said last week. The decision will be made soon so that the school calendar for 2010-2011 can be presented to the school board for approval.

Also this week, officials with the special education office of the Massachusetts Department of Education will visit the district to host a parent meeting and conduct school visits.

The visit is a “focused monitoring,” said Heidi Chausse of the district’s special education office, specifically to look at how Vicksburg schools are identifying and helping students with emotional disabilities.

Parents of any special education student are invited to attend the meeting Tuesday from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the district’s board room, Chausse said. If they have questions about areas outside the specific emotional disability issue, members of the state special ed team will be able to make referrals and offer information.

The team will also visit a number of schools in the district Wednesday through Friday to conduct interviews with administrators and teachers, inspect records and look at procedures to make sure students with those disabilities are being identified and served. Those schools are not identified or given notice ahead of time.

The audit is part of a state-mandated review to which all school districts are subject since a court case known as “Mattie T.” was decided in 1979.

“We feel very confident the state is going to be pleased with our efforts and the study will come out in a very positive way,” Chausse said.


Contact Pamela Hitchins at