After months of meetings with various groups and analyzing data, Newburg High School is adopting a new grading system - one that puts much less emphasis on homework or assignments and much more on an overall assessment of a student's understanding of course material.
NEWBURG- After months of meetings with various groups and analyzing data, Newburg High School is adopting a new grading system - one that puts much less emphasis on homework or assignments and much more on an overall assessment of a student's understanding of course material.
High School Principal Steve Guffey told the board of eduction at their July 24th meeting, that the school's test scores have remained static over the years. Part of that he said is due to the fact that the Internet has changed the mindset of teaching the learning.
He noted that kids have way too many opportunities to cheat and copy because of the Internet.
"Every textbook and answer key is online," he said. " So while kids were passing on worksheets or assignments, they weren't retaining knowledge."
Under this new system developed by the high school's leadership team over the last several months a student's grade each quarter will be on a 80/20 grading scale. That means that 80% of their grade will be based on the understanding of the coursework as seen through major projects, labs and research, and 20 percent will be based on assignments.
"Failure is no longer an option," noted team member and high school communication director Jay Thompson. "Kids will now have the opportunity to test and retest."
The high school has adopted an eighth hour where students will have a chance to work with a teacher on any difficulties that they are having. As well, they have developed a 'working lunch' period called Assignment Help, where students can either volunteer or be assigned to work on assignments past or current under a teacher's supervision.
"The goal here is to make sure they (students) understand what we are teaching them," Guffey added. "We do a lot to celebrate athletics here, but under this new program we already have planned a big academic banquet to celebrate student achievements."
The board spent much of their meeting looking at financial issues; specifically, as they apply to the creation of 2014-15 school's budget. Superintendent John Westerman noted that the district does not receive as much money from the state or federal level as they have in the past due to policy changes. To that end, he wants to form a committee that can look at financials and get feedback on what the district's options are. He hopes that he can have representatives from the Missouri Association of School Administrators as well as other officials on hand.
"We have such good people working here," noted Westerman. " We have done a lot with very little; we are the center of this community. We want to make sure that we have the type of money that our professionals need here. Our kids deserve it."
In other news:
•The school district's 2014 policy regulations and forms were updated and approved.
• The board, in a four to three vote, approved the addition of a high school soccer program. This decision comes after two months of voting against the idea. The plan is to have the program run by donations and volunteers with very little cost to the school district.
• The board will hold an open session budget workshop meeting tonight at 6:30 p.m. at the school.
The board of educations next monthly meeting is set for Thursday, August 21.