Highlands Blog

Competency Based Reports -- a shift in the right direction.

Competency Based Education presents a unique opportunity to individualize student learning and measure student growth and progress. It varies from traditional education by focusing on skills and proficiency levels instead of points and grades. Using Novare, a platform that grew through a Reggio approach and created for Competency Based Education, ensures communication with learners and families are optimal to promote a Growth Mindset as intended, to close the achievement gap, not hide or perpetuate it.
This pedagogical shift can be challenging for schools. What do parents think of it? What about teachers? We went to Highlands School to ask them about Novare and how it helps communicate with a different type of reporting.
Shifting to this new model is extremely helpful when you have support. Highlands appreciates the support of their Curriculum Director, Elise Blackerby who provides teachers time to learn new systems and look at criteria to measure student learning. We spoke with Treasure Horton, an insightful elementary teacher at Highlands School to gain her perspective. Treasure also was quick to point out that she’s most excited about the strong and immediate customer support with Novare, “you never hear anyone from Novare say ‘ok, we will get to it’, there is always a timely response to any questions.” Having a platform to support teachers and save time is truly beneficial.
Student success includes both academic and social emotional growth. Novare helps schools communicate both components equally. To that point, Treasure stated, “competency reports allow the student and parent to see where the child stands in every area.” Using Novare, Highland School has been able to successfully report on the whole child and use the report to enerate conversations with families, ultimately building stronger relationships. Treasure went on to explain how easy it is to personalize and communicate learning. She recalled an example when her class played a math game with her goal to determine math fluency in addition. Using Novare, she captured the proficiency level easily and could quickly add a note to provide insight noting that one child surpassed the fluency and was mastering place value.
Another highlight for Treasure is the ease of use of Novare’s reports. commenting that “It is fantastic and smooth and is an easy to use program.” Providing a clear picture of personalized student growth, speaks volumes to the benefits of competency based reports as is evidenced at Highland School. Such reports provide a vivid understanding of student growth when communicating with families.
Thanks Highlands for your time and feedback! We appreciate the perspective of a school that is on the cutting edge of providing an engaging education. While visiting, we loved seeing the gardens, science labs, flexible seating, and even mood lighting to reduce stress, engage students and invigorate learning!
Highlands School, 4901 Old Leeds Road, Birmingham, AL 35213, (205) 956-9731
Highlands School's 'whole child' approach to education and commitment to academic excellence, creative expression, and leadership development prepare and motivate students in grades 4k through 8 to make a positive difference in an ever-changing world. Located in Birmingham, Alabama, Highlands School holds dual accrediation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and the Southern Associations of Independent Schools (SAIS).

For more information, visit www.highlandsschool.org.