School Board gets insight on Standards-Based Grading


Howard County - Chris Rogne, 7-12 principal at Howard-Winneshiek, gave a report on Secondary Standards-Based Grading, which is the direction the district has been moving for the past few years. 
Rogne noted it takes about four years to complete the transfer from the A, B, C, D, F grading system most of us are familiar with. How-Winn is between years two and three.
“Standards-Based Grading is reporting student achievement by clearly communicating progress toward learning goals in a timely, accurate and specific manner,” Rogne explained. This new learning system allows students to receive rapid, differentiated support based on their specific learning needs.
One question always asked  concerns grade point averages. The administrator assured audience members by saying the school will have a four-point scale. Each class will have a set of standards, and students will be evaluated on each one and given a number: 0 - did not turn in homework or did not demonstrate understanding; 1 - needs work; 2 - student is proficient; and 3 - student is above proficient. 
Switching over to Standards-Based Grading/Competency-Based Education is a lot of work on teachers, as they have to determine what standards they will be expecting in their classrooms. He did commend Mrs. Libby Schwade for implementing the system quickly. “She’s a little further ahead than the others,” Rogne noted.
The new system of teaching and learning is moving ahead slowly, but it is moving ahead.
• In other business from the meeting, Tina Rahlf spoke in open forum about some bus driver issues. 
• Sara Grimm, PK-6 principal, gave an update on elementary Parent-Teacher Conferences. “The teachers appreciated the back-to-school conferences. They were able to meet the parents and talk about curriculum. We would like to continue that.”
She said the November conferences were well attended. She added communication has changed a lot due to technology. “Teachers are constantly reaching out to parents. They Skype and meet before and after school. Through social media parents know what’s going on.
 Some parents also like to communicate by e-mail or text rather than phone calls.
Board member Karlos McClure stated, “Constant contact is preventative practices.”
Grimm concluded she was pleased with the percentage of parents who attended conferences and/or stay in touch with teachers regularly.
• Erin Power Daley, Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) Cresco Center Director, introduced Cassie Martin as the new Cresco Center Coordinator and Success Coach at NICC.
She joked, “I’ve been doing six jobs.” Power Daley’s load will be lightened, and the high school and Cresco Center will see more of Martin.
• Supt. John Carver gave his report, expanding on Standards-Based Education. He said some students are passing with As and Bs, but unable to pass classes at the college level. The new system will make sure students understand what they are being taught.
~ “The district was approached to speak at the Illinois Teacher Association in March,” he noted. A group from How-Winn will make the trip.
~ Getting into politics, Carver explained how Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad was named Ambassador to China by President-Elect Donald Trump. “He has been very supportive of what we’re doing here. Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds will move up, and she’s been supportive. Even though there is a change in the governor’s office, we are still in good shape.”
He didn’t think the change in administration will have a big affect on how things are done at the local level.
~ The board was updated on the stadium project. Bids were opened Dec. 6. “We planned for a total cost of $1.5 million and bids were $1,613,847.” He expressed his pleasure the bid came in close to planned cost.
Later in the meeting the board approved the bids.
Unfortunately, the bids for Musco lights ($147,419) and audio-visual feed to the concession stand ($40,781) were not included. 
At a special meeting on Dec. 19, the board approved the lighting, for a total project cost of $1,761,266.
• The first reading for “Voluntary Early Retirement” was read. During discussion McClure said, “Personally I’ve never felt public funds should be used for this.” He did concede it would help the bottom line, since the funds come from a different fund than general fund.
He was also concerned about having coaches opt for early retirement and still coach. He feels coaches should be staff members who would see students on a daily basis.
Board member Todd Hill agreed but also noted there are good coaches who aren’t teachers, and he wanted them to be considered for coaching.
• The District Advisory Committee will start to meet quarterly. Some committee members’ time is up, so new members will be suggested by Board members.
• The next school board meeting will be Monday, Jan. 9. A possible work session will be held beforehand.

Cresco Times

Phone: 563-547-3601
Fax: 563-547-4602

Cresco TPD
214 N. Elm Street
Cresco, IA 52136

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