Aspen Elementary School to offer report cards in Spanish |

Aspen Elementary School to offer report cards in Spanish

Eben Harrell

This June, Aspen Elementary School will send report cards in Spanish to parents of Spanish-speaking students, school officials announced last week.The decision is a continuation of a policy adopted earlier this year that mandated teacher comments be translated into Spanish for Spanish-speaking parents. By June, officials say, the transition to Spanish will be complete, and the school will send entire reports – grades as well as comments – in Spanish.”First and foremost, it takes a lot of communication between our ELL [English Language Learners] teachers and the parents, because we don’t want to insult anyone by sending Spanish to parents who read English,” elementary Principal Robin Whitacre said. “But for our Spanish-speaking parents, this will help them keep better tabs on their children’s progress.”Whitacre said the Spanish reports became an option this year because of PowerSchool, a computer program used by teachers to format report cards. The program offers a translation feature, allowing non-Spanish speaking teachers to produce a Spanish report card with the click of a button.”We’ve been in touch with other school districts that have a lot of Spanish-speaking parents, and this seems to be the best way to do things,” Whitacre said. Whitacre added that, along with the teacher comment section of report cards, English Language Development reports, which track a Spanish-speaking student’s progress in English, already have been made available to parents in Spanish. In the past, elementary school ELL instructors Shawn Rios and Jamie Mahaffey translated these reports into Spanish. But that left out some ELL students whose native tongue was not Spanish, Whitacre said.”Aspen is such an international community, we have ELL students whose parents speak other languages. We have a Hungarian family, for example. What we are hoping for is to eventually be able to translate report cards into whatever language we need,” Whitacre said.Elementary school report cards offer a standards-based assessment, breaking down subjects into their component subgroups. Under mathematics, for example, parents can learn how their child performs in such areas as math reasoning, multiplication and addition. Translating these subgroups into Spanish will be a big help for Spanish-speaking parents, Whitacre said.”The nature of our report card is such that it’s not easy to figure it out if you can’t read the language,” she said.In the coming weeks, the elementary school will contact Latino parents to find out if they would prefer to see report cards in English or Spanish.Eben Harrell’s e-mail address is

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