NORTH JERSEY— “This will be on your permanent record. “
This phrase, spoken by teachers and parents, continues to strike fear in the hearts of students around the world.
Is there a permanent recording? What’s in it and is it something parents should care about?
Yes, there is a permanent recording. It contains a lot of information and parents should know what is in it.
What is a permanent recording?
Locked in school district offices and on servers are records containing test scores, grades, disciplinary history, health information, and teacher grades on student potential.
The information follows students from school to school and from district to district.
“There is a lot of valuable information in a student’s file,” said René Rovtar, superintendent of the Montville Township School District.
Parents of high school students are well aware of how college admissions departments use this information, but the influence of these records begins years ago.
The contents of the records are dictated by the New Jersey State Board of Education, and the responsibility for the records ultimately rests with the school district superintendents.
Record keeping begins the moment a child enters school, starting in Kindergarten and Kindergarten, Denville Superintendent Steven Forte said.
Most of the information found in the files won’t surprise most parents, Forte said.
“Parents get the records as they go, which means they get the report cards and the test results. They just didn’t compile everything, ”Forte said.
Most school districts use web portals where parents can log in to view their children’s grades, attendance, and test results. Teachers usually update them in real time.
The files contain information that is not accessible through online portals.
What’s in the permanent record?
Only severe disciplinary measures, such as suspensions, are part of the permanent record.
Minor infractions can be included in a student’s “record” as grades, but will not track them to other schools.
“Some of the things on the record just help us deal with the child on a day-to-day basis, take a note that says who is allowed to pick up the child,” Forte said.
Teacher’s notes on academic placement potential and study habits can be included in the dossier, but are not accessible through the portal.
Can you see the recordings?
Parents and mature students have the right to access records within 10 days of a request, said Michael Yaple, director of public information at the New Jersey Department of Education.
Yaple said school districts can remove records that “are no longer descriptive of the student” or their “educational program.”
If parents want something to be removed or inserted into the record, they must notify their principal in writing. Superintendents then have 10 school days to investigate and respond to the school district’s decision, according to the state board of education.
Will it help / hurt when applying to colleges?
Although it seems that the race to get into a good college is starting earlier and earlier, educators say not so fast.
“Sometimes parents can put too much effort into this stuff,” Rovtar said.
Those with Ivy League ambitions for their kids are starting to plan in college. Advanced placement courses in subjects like math and programs for the gifted and talented can mean getting ahead of the competition. School staff use the information found in these records – in addition to parental feedback – to place children in these programs.
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Forte and Rovtar both stress the importance of keeping all of this in perspective.
“They only see the transcripts from the courses the kids took in high school,” Rovtar said of colleges. “That’s not to say that what they study in high school isn’t important, but colleges won’t. Look at this.”
In addition, admissions offices underestimate the importance of academic success by numbers.
“What I hear now from Ivy League schools is that they are looking for students who have some level of community service or projects that they have done within their family that have made a difference, as if they took care of a sick relative. “Rovtar said.” They’re not looking at how many AP courses you’ve taken. ”
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