School Board approves grading changes, winter holidays

WOODSTOCK – The Shenandoah County School Board approved grading scale changes and winter break holidays at Tuesday night’s meeting.

David Hinegardner, director of middle and secondary education, recommended the grading scale changes after three years of work performed by a grading committee, including focus and pilot group work. He said the committee has focused on the study of the best and most fair way to represent a student’s mastery of content in a class.

“Grading is one of the most powerful aspects of our education system. For a student, grading is not just a number on an assignment or a report card. It can motivate or de-motivate,” he said. “Grading should reflect learning.”

This is the newly approved grading scale, effective July:

• 90-100 is an A, and a 4.0 grade point average.

• 80-89 is a B, and a 3.0 grade point average.

• 70-79 is a C, and a 2.0 grade point average.

• 60-69 is a D, and a 1.0 grade point average.

• 50-59 is an F, and a 0.0 grade point average.

This new scale replaces the current seven-point scale and will use semester-based grading instead of quarterly grading. He added that report cards will now be given out twice a year, replacing the current four times a year, but interim reports will be given out six times a year, replacing the current four times a year.

The benefit of the new grading scale includes improving academic competitiveness for students, he said, and aligning with other divisions locally, statewide and nationally.

The board also approved adjustments to the 2017-2018 winter break holidays, making Dec. 22  and Jan. 2  holidays for all students and staff. The federal Christmas and New Year holidays fall on Mondays this coming holiday season.

In order to preserve time for students and staff to spend time with family over the winter break, and to prevent the awarding of two additional days of annual leave for 12-month employees, Superintendent Mark Johnston recommended the changes to the board to reduce the number of student attendance days from 182 to 181 and make a teacher flex day a holiday. The first semester will end prior to the winter break.

Also at the meeting the board:

• Approved the personnel list.

• Approved policy revisions.

• Heard a presentation from a student about his internship experience and showed a clip from a documentary he and another student created titled “Schooled: An Educational Film.”

• Heard a presentation about Central High School’s model general assembly and the expansion to the southern and northern campuses.