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Dayton School Board Changes High School Grading System

The Dayton School Board voted Wednesday night to change the point grading system in their high school.

Currently, Dayton High School has a six to eight-point letter grade, with an A being scored as between 94 and 100, a B covering 85 to 93, a C equaling 76 to 84, and a D being a 70 to 75. The board voted to change to a ten point letter system, which is what all the Kenton County Schools currently utilize. The numbers are in Dayton's favor. Thirty-­three out of the top 45 high schools in the country currently use the ten point system, and 70 percent of the schools in the state of Kentucky use the system. According to the U S Department of Education, the ten point system is the most frequently utilized system in the country.

"I think it will create more opportunities for our kids," said Dayton High School Principal Jeremy Dodd. "We believe it will create significant changes over time."

The concerns that were brought up at the meeting is first of all the perceived appearance of lowering the standards for the students. It was noted that only individual classroom practices, not district­-wide grading scale adoption, would be responsible for lowering academic expectations. The site-based decision making council in the high school chose to adopt a new, more uniform, grading policy in August which is 70 percent summative assessments and 30 percent formative assessments, a move the council believes will move the school closer to current best practices of standards-­based grading models.

It was explained that the benefits of moving to the ten point system include being in the best interest of the students, especially those at the 'edges' of the current scales. Students at the upper end of the grading system are put at a disadvantage when they apply for merit-based scholarships as well as when they want admission to college honors programs because they are competing with schools that use the ten point system. In addition, KEES money (state funding) is currently tied to letter grades and GPA.

Schools that use the ten point system allow their students to receive top funding for a course grade of 90 or above, whereas Dayton's current system allows only the students who receive a 94 or above to qualify for top funding. A student with a 90 percent from a school with the ten point system would receive a 4.0 grade point average, but a student from Dayton right now who had a 93 percent would only receive a 3.0 GPA.

With everything considered, the board agreed that it would be a good move for the high school to adopt the ten point system. Board member Tom Dilts asked if the system would be retroactive to the first part of the school year. Principal Dodd said it will be if he can get his computers to make it happen. If not, he will start it for the second semester.

Other notes: 

Brittney Howell reported on the early childhood/special education/day care department, and she explained that the percentage of children who were kindergarten ready was 52 percent, under the percentage of 80 percent that the state would like to see, but an improvement from 2013 when the percentage was 27.7. She told the board that they have several measures in place to help the children improve and become more kindergarten ready, but there is still a percentage of children who stay at home and are not exposed to any early childhood programs.

Howell said she is working to find those children.

"Early childhood is where we're going to win the battle," said Superintendent Jay Brewer. 

The board also approved the BG­1 for the improvements that are scheduled to be done on the high school. Currently, the price of the renovations are at a rough estimate of $900,000, and the bonding potential of the district is coincidentally also at $900,000. Brewer said that on July 1, 2016, the bonding potential will go up to $1.2 million, but in order to get the project started, the first step to the lengthy process is to approve the BG­1.

The salary for the Home Hospital Instructor for the district was increased from $19 per hour to $30 an hour because it was brought to Brewer's attention that after school teachers were making that much. He reported that home hospital Instructors put in a total of 48 hours last year.

Brewer gave an update on the Superintendent's Goals, and mentioned in passing that the state is going to cut the district's SEEK funding by $17,000. Brewer said that he has told the state, and will continue to tell the state, that it punishes the districts with higher special education levels, higher ESL levels, and higher poverty levels, and that, in his opinion is not right.

He also mentioned that charter schools are being piloted in Fayette and Jefferson counties, a movement that he observed was gaining in popularity.

Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor

Top photo: Chris Foster was honored for graduating from the Mentor program.

Slideshow Images & Captions: 
Students of the month from Dayton High School & Middle School