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New GPA Calculation at Dayton Schools; District Wins $692,000 Grant, Buys Nearby Property

The Dayton Board of Education adopted a change in the 2017-18 student handbook at its meeting on Monday night.

Dayton High School students' grade point average (GPA) will now be measured on the 4.0 scale rather than one that previously used 100 points as the top score.

The previous system did not give extra weight to certain courses that the students could take. For example, if a student took a dual credit course, which qualifies as a high school course and a college course, and the student received an A in that course, there was no additional benefit to the GPA. Other schools give extra weight for these classes, so a student in another high school who took the same course and received an A, would get 5 points instead of 4 points which makes it more attractive to take and succeed in the courses.

Principal Ryan Kellinghaus said that he didn't like it when his students were with students from other schools and grade point average was highlighted, because his students did not fare as well due to the fact that they could only achieve a 4.0, and other students were compiling GPAs of 4.7 or 4.8.

The site-based decision-making council recommended having a 4.0 and a 5.0 system so that the students could achieve GPAs similar to their peers at other schools in the area.  

Board member Diane Huff, a former guidance counselor, questioned whether the new scale would change the criteria for who would be chosen for valedictorian of the class. She maintained that if a student received five 100 percent grades, and one 89 percent in, for instance, physical education, and another student received six 90 percent grades, that student would have a higher GPA than the first student. She wasn't sure that that was fair for the students.

The board approved the student handbooks, but the question about the scoring session will go back to the site-based council.

Additionally, there was a technical question over whether the issue was a school board matter, or a site-based decision-making council matter. That issue will be clarified later.

Other notes:

Kellinghaus also announced that Dayton High School received money from a School Improvement Grant (SIG). The school sought $1.9 million in funding and received $692,000. Kellinghaus said the grant was definitely better than nothing, but he was disappointed that the full amount was not awarded. He and his staff will reevaluate how they will spend the funds.

The board of education also offered its support to a district program that allows high school students that attend dual credit courses through Gateway Community & Technical College to spend time with Lincoln Elementary students on Fridays to offer one-on-one reading sessions.

Superintendent Jay Brewer announced that Stacie Pabst has been hired as the new food service director. Brewer also said that last week the Cook for America team had come back to the school to impart more knowledge about cooking healthy meals for the students. The program, aimed at improving school meals, first started collaborating with Dayton Independent Schools in 2015.

It was also announced that the district bought the property at 773 Third Avenue at auction for a price of $3300. Currently it contains a trailer on a foundation of sorts, and it is close to the house next door, so it is not known how much it will cost to demolish, but eventually it will be a green space for the students and the community.

A pay scale was approved for the custodians, since Brewer said Dayton pays their beginning custodians $9.85 an hour while other local districts pay more. Ludlow pays $14.26 to start, for example. The new pay scale includes a dollar raise for all current custodial employees and a starting salary of $10.85 per hour.

Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor

Photo: Dayton Board of Education meets on Monday (RCN)