A review of over 5,000 Richmond student transcripts kicked off this week. Senior transcripts are up for review first, part of a district-wide overhaul mandated by Virginia’s Department of Education earlier this year.
“We want to get to everybody yesterday but we really have to focus on our seniors right now,” said RPS Chief Acadmic Officer Tracy Epp following a community forum at Thomas Jefferson High School Tuesday.
That review will continue over the next couple of months: a joint effort between school principals, counselors and a small team from the state department of education. Thomas Jefferson Principal Tamara Mines will be part of that review team.
“Every transcript that comes out of our building after this process will actually have our signature on it to show that we have verified – along with the team – that it is accurate,” Mines said.
Another community meeting about the transcript review process will be held at Huguenot High School Thursday night at 7 p.m.
“It’s important to get out to parents and explain what changes we’re making – how we’re making that change,” Mines said. “Because we need to have that restored confidence in what we’re doing for our kids.”
According to Epp, updated senior transcripts – with a simplified format - should be sent home with students by January 22nd. But the overhaul will include more than a rework of transcripts. Epp says a draft guide of course offerings for the next school year – called the programs of studies guide – should be ready by the end of January as well.
“What’s tricky is that a course might be in a guide, but if only one student wants to take it, it might not be a course that’s offered,” Epp said.
She says they’ve also had a hard time staffing some classes like foreign languages, so that could be another reason why a course ends up in the guide but isn’t offered. What she did guarantee was that at a minimum, if a course is in the program of studies guide, it would have correct coding, title and credit amount.
Epp also told those in attendance Tuesday: someday she wants to have an app so students can check their grades in real time.
“That’s my dream, but right now it’s a pipe dream given all of the other priorities,” Epp said. “It should be much less of a black box,” Epp said. “Right now we’re pretty paper-heavy as a division and that takes up time that counselors could be spending on counseling and career advisement.”
Epp says if any coders are interested in taking on that project, she’s all ears.