The Beverly Hills Unified School District is planning to issue report cards on parent behavior next year to encourage parents to participate in the education of their children.
A draft "parent report card" was introduced at Tuesday night's Board of Education meeting, listing 26 different areas in which parents can rate themselves as "satisfactory," "needs improvement" or "unsatisfactory."
The questions asked on the report card focus on what parents need to do to improve their children's learning environment: Do you provide your children with adequate lighting and a comfortable place to read? Do you buy your children books as gifts or take them to the library? Do you read aloud to your children? Do they see you reading?
"We want parents to be able to assess their own abilities," said Carol Katzman, director of educational services. "The card we now have focuses on reading but I can see expanding it into every area."
Katz said the district plans to ask PTA presidents to help develop a final version of the report card over the summer so that it can be issued to parents in January. "We don't want parents to feel that this is something the district has slapped down on them," she said. "We want them to be a part of developing it."
Supt. Leon Lessinger told the board that the report card would help inform parents that "they do have an obligation to this school system and to their children's education."
"I think it is an excellent idea," board member Jerry Weinstein said. "But one suggestion I would like to make as an addition to the report card is to have a rating on restricting the use of the television." He said that studies have shown that students who watch fewer hours of television score higher on tests.
The report cards will be issued as part of the district's Student Job Description Program, which encourages students to view their roles in school as a job. Parents are asked to join in a partnership with teachers to improve the child's basic skills and study habits. To accomplish this, parents and children are asked to sign statements agreeing to set responsibilities designed for each grade level.
For example, students in kindergarten through the third grade are asked to agree to sit quietly while others are speaking; to keep their lunches, jackets and papers in the correct place; to use complete sentences, and to remember their ages, addresses and telephone numbers. Students in the sixth through eighth grades are asked to be able to plan and budget their time independently; to use computers safely, responsibly and independently, and to use the dictionary and thesaurus.
Katz said that she expects parents to return the report cards because the district has had a high rate of participation in the Student Job Description Program. The district began developing the job program four years ago and now has a printed packet of material including a brochure, chart and study skills for each grade level. The program has been sold to 500 schools districts throughout the country, she said.