Dark Horse students and their families will see a change in how grades are reported next school year as Clinton High School moves from a six week grading schedule to a nine week one.
Lenora Locklear, K-12 Curriculum and Instruction director for the city schools, informed Board of Education members of the change coming in the 2014-15 school year during last week’s meeting.
Noting that as school officials have been working on next year’s school calendar, Locklear shared that she and Clinton High School principal Dr. Steven Miller had had conversations about the possibility of a nine week grading schedule and had ultimately decided to implement it at the high school.
When school board member Diane Viser questioned why make the change, Locklear explained that she and Miller “feel like it would be better aligned with what the rest of the system is doing.”
Superintendent Stuart Blount interjected that following a nine week grading schedule rather than the current six week grading schedule would “provide more opportunities for the high school staff to participate in professional development,” something, he noted, they don’t get to do as often as staff in the city’s middle and elementary schools.
Reporting grades on a nine week grading schedule would also make the transition from another outside high school into Clinton High School easier for transfer students as well as for staff transfering the students’ information since most high schools are now operating on that kind of schedule.
Additionally, Blount said, the longer schedule “aligns on a state perspective” and improves “alignment across the district.”
School board member Carol Worley inquired if the change in the grading schedule required approval from the school board. Locklear informed that the change is considered “operational” and was shared with the school board as an information only item.
“Just the reporting is all that changes,” Locklear stressed.
Pointing out that at some point in the system’s past a six week grading schedule was obviously considered the better option by school officials since it was the schedule that was implemented, Viser expressed concern that with the new schedule “grades are being calculated and reported less frequently.”
Locklear replied that students and their families “will actually end up with the same number of reports,” explaining that report cards will be sent out every nine weeks and that progress reports will be sent out in the interim, every four and a half weeks.
With this information, Viser noted that progress reports could act as a needed wake-up call for students and that sending them out prior to report cards would give students a chance to improve their grades before any low grades show up permanently on their report cards.
“I like the six week schedule,” said Worley, sharing concern about the “realistic” lack of communication between the various parties involved, groups that would be affected by this change including students, parents, and staff.
“ParentPortal will help if it’s used,” she said, referring to the new online database recently implemented at the high school which allows parents 24/7 web access to their children’s school information, but admited, “I’m a little uneasy about this.”
Viser agreed that effectively communicating information about the grading schedule change was very important, that students’ parents and families “shouldn’t have to go looking for it” when they visit ParentPortal.
Locklear assured the school board that “the change will be part of the new curriculum guide” which school officials are currently working on and are planning to present to school board members in January.
Lauren Williams can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 117 or via email at email@example.com.