The YME school board is working on making sure its policies and practices line up. On Monday night they discussed relaxing its exclusionary policy regarding failing grades. Currently, there is an exclusion of two weeks/two activities per failing grade, up to three grades. The policy committee has been exploring how other schools handle the situation of failing students.
YME is high on the harsh punishment side of the spectrum. Commonly, the exclusion is capped at two weeks. A common practice to combat this is to have the athletic director check grades every 1-3 weeks. This gives students much more notice about problematic grades, instead of getting nailed at the end of the quarter. This led to a discussion about grade inflation. Board member Steve Rupp brought up how Principal Luft has reported that 65% of students are on the honor roll, but only 35% are passing the MCAs, (meaning, meeting academic standards) Rupp pointed out the contradiction between "burying a student" (getting zeros on assignments tanks the GPA even if the rest is 100%) and making grading more relevant to the MCAs.
Dr. Clark replied that the school is working on calibrating the "rigor" of the academic work, which is helping close the gap of "grades vs MCA and ACT performance." Luft added that grading practice is a "hot topic" on a national level. There is a lot of ongoing debate about what should and shouldn't be graded. This includes homework or busywork vs demonstrating knowledge on a test, the soft skills of getting work in on time vs the quality of the work alone, what constitutes a passing grade, and more. The policy committee will discuss these issues in July.
In other news: •Verizon is setting up mini-towers, and wants to install one in the YME parking lot. There will be no cost to the district, and it will help reception, particularly in the gymnasium. Dr. Clark is working on moving forward with the project. •There was discussion about whether family trips count as excused or unexcused absences. The current practice is that they are excused, but the policy says unexcused. This will be part of the policy committee meeting as well. •The end of the year award ceremony was a popular success. Teachers reported hearing students watching seniors receive honor cords and awards, and whisper to each other asking how to get those awards.