Teachers explain standards-based grading

Staff writer

At its monthly meeting Monday, the Centre USD Board of Education heard from teachers Jennifer Montgomery, Kara Luce, and Jackie Ingram about the standards-based grading program they are using in their classrooms.

Standards-based grading focuses on a student’s understanding of the material rather than just rote learning and points. Instead of letter grades on quizzes and assignments, students are scored on their understanding. Scores include EX, exemplary; ES, exceed standards; MS, meet standard; AS, approaching standard; and NE, no evidence.

AS would be a D in traditional grading, and informs the student about the problem areas they need to focus on to improve their understanding and thus their final grade.

“SBG is a new grading policy that focuses on the work rather than numbers for students and teachers,” Montgomery said. “Children need to understand it. Homework is practice and is not included in the final score.”

The teachers said students have the opportunity and responsibility to improve their work and can come in for reassessment on work done previously, to show that they comprehend a concept.

Luce said she began using this approach last school year and is seeing huge improvement in her students’ work.

“We really think it’s better for the kids,” Montgomery said. “If parents can’t understand it, they should come and talk to us.”

The teachers said the school board is the backbone of the program, and their support of the administration and staff is essential.

Personnel

Before taking several actions on personnel, the board met in executive session with Superintendent Jerri Kemble for 35 minutes, including clerk Peggy Falen for 15 minutes.

With Falen’s retirement coming up Nov. 30, the board voted to employ Traci Alt as her replacement at $16 an hour. Alt will also be the KPERS designated agent, Blue Cross and Blue Shield group representative, employee background check point of contact, and custodian of records.

The board named technician Dani Litke the deputy clerk and appointed elementary school aide Susie Johnson as the kindergarten-through-12th-grade receptionist, and attendance and activities secretary. She will be paid at the current rate of $9.27 per hour.

Part-time cook Melanie Pollock was transferred to the elementary school aide position. The district will advertise for a part-time cook position.

Transportation

Transportation director Bob Mueller announced that two bus routes have absorbed another bus route because of a lack of enough bus drivers. He said the consolidated routes require 10 or 15 minutes more time.

The board later accepted the resignation of Annette Nienstedt as a route bus driver.

Mueller said with the consolidation of routes, a new bus will not need to be purchased this year but one or two smaller vehicles are needed. The board gave him authority to get a bid to repair the body on a mini-bus and bids on a new Suburban.

The board approved the purchase of iPads and an iPad cart from Apple for $15,410. The purchase will be funded through a $22,200 Federal REAP grant.

The board approved the purchase of a Xerox printer for $3,500 for the business classroom using capital outlay funds.

The board received and accepted a favorable audit report from a representative of Clubine and Rettele.

He said there were no cash basis violations, all activity funds were in good shape, and the funds in banks are secured.

“You have a very professional and friendly staff who work with us throughout the year,” he said.

Evan Stout, an energy consultant currently employed with the McPherson school district, addressed the board about doing an energy audit of the district facilities and giving advice on ways to save electricity.

Kemble announced that Centre will be offering preparatory training for students who wish to take the ACT test next spring. Several students have completed training in using the iHigh website to broadcast school videos and live events.

 

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