Report Cards could be Lost in Translation

By Connor Hughes –

Come home from school and the report card is sitting on the kitchen table.  It’s one of the most nerve-racking things a student can see after an already stressful day at school.

That experience is now a thing of the past for Penn Manor School District students.  The district has made a major adjustment in the way they are distributing their students’ progress reports and report cards.

Now, the student will collect their report cards at lunch, and take it home from school to show their parents – hopefully.

Seniors Kyle Black and Michael Schneider didn’t show their parents their latest report card, and don’t plan to.

“I was pumped,” said Schneider referring to the report cards not being sent home.

“I won’t show my parents,” said Black. “They don’t even know (report cards) came out.”

Dayonte Dixon's take home report card.

Not mailing report cards home is a way for the district to pinch pennies at a time when school districts don’t have a lot of extra money.

“This is a cost-cutting procedure.  If you figure we would mail out about 2,000 report cards four times a year, and the same number of progress reports four times a year, we are saving close to $7,000,” said Penn Manor High School principal Philip Gale.

The savings may be welcomed by the district but, like many money saving schemes, the new operation has its risks.

The main danger is if students never show their parents the grades.

“We are concerned that the report cards may not make it home,” said Gale. “We did put an announcement on the high school website about the distribution of report cards and plan to announce it at Parents’ Night on February 2.”

Administration can’t make the students bring the report card to their parents, but there is a backup plan.  If a parent does not receive a report card, they can always contact the school.

“We don’t have plans to force students to take the report card home.  If a parent does not receive the report card, they can contact the office and we will mail one,” said Gale.

The new plan seems bulletproof, give students their report card to take home, if they don’t, parents can request to get it mailed home.

But the new procedure isn’t necessarily a win-win scenario.

Some students are very excited with a change in the system because it means they won’t have to show their parents their, maybe not-so-good, grades.

“Yeah I picked up my report card and showed my parents.  Well, I showed my mom,” said a Penn Manor junior who didn’t want her name published.  She said her dad did not see her report card.

“My dad definitely would of seen it if it would of been mailed,” confessed the student.  “I think (the district) should mail them so we don’t have to bother with them.  It’s their responsibility not ours.”

But despite the risk that some kids may be trying to manipulate a good thing for the district, Penn Manor assistant principal Krista Cox isn’t worried about report cards getting detoured to the trash.

Carly Rebman says she has no problem giving her report card to her parents.

“I trust my students,” said Cox.

“Yeah I got (my report card), I have nothing to hide,”  said Penn Manor junior Carly Rebman.

But although Rebman took hers home, she doesn’t trust her peers as much as Cox does.

“Honestly I think it’s a bad idea, if I had bad grades I definitely wouldn’t show my parents,” said Rebman.

Penn Manor parents are also concerned with the new change.

“Come to think of it, I haven’t seen a report card yet,” said Claudia Forrey, mother of Penn Manor student Reagan.

When she found out report cards have been available for more than a week, Forrey wasn’t pleased.

“Then I need to ask Reagan where his report card is,” she said.  “My concern is for other parents who might not have computers.”

But Mrs. Forrey saw a different side of the issue when she heard the district will save $7,000 by halting the mailing of report cards.

“Oh, $7,000?” asked Forrey.  “The school needs to save every penny.  Well, parents should check Sapphire or call the school (to get their childs’ grades.)”

Whether parents see the report cards or not, grades are available online.  If any student didn’t pick up their report card, they are available in the office.

Dayonte Dixon also contributed to this article.