Posted Date: 09/06/2018
There wasn’t quite the turnout Principal Brian Campbell hoped for at his first Parent Camp Wednesday night, but he was satisfied to have addressed some concerns from those in attendance and answer their questions about Evidence Based Learning and Grading.
“Any questions you have I’ll answer. Any opinions you have I’ll listen,” he told the group in the auditorium. “This is the community’s school, and I want you in here and I want you to feel comfortable in here.”
Parents were invited to choose three topics they wanted to know more about or had questions about during the two-hour Parents Camp. There were sessions on the career tech classes, NCCC certificate classes in construction, welding and nursing, CHS graduation tracks, Powerschool from the Parent’s view, the new Agriculture and FFA programs, the science application classes, new culinary arts pathway, the district’s new bus tracking system.
When parents were not in a session, or between sessions, they could grab a light supper of hot dogs, chips and sweet snacks. The school also provided a babysitting service for the young ones.
Campbell opted to talk about the new grading system at Chanute High School.
A math teacher until last May, Campbell simplified EBL as Best Practices and used examples to show why “it’s truly best for kids.”
In the past, a student could score 60 percent and pass a class, and go on to the next class.
“We’re talking about missing 40 percent of all the material. It’s a lot,” he said.
A kindergarten teacher wouldn’t accept a student learning only 60 percent of the alphabet. Is 60 percent really enough to pass a student on to the next class? he asked.
With EBL, students are expected to master all the material deemed “essential” for the standards in a given class. Using a projector, Campbell showed an example of a rubric and how it identifies what a student needs to know. The rubric is also attached to the standard being taught in the grade book, so a parent can see what their student did and didn’t do.
The expectation is that all students will score a 3 or better. Students who are “not there or not there yet” score a 1 or 2, which will show up in the grade book as incomplete.
“We don’t limit how many times they relearn or retest,” Campbell said. “We will reteach until that student understands that essential outcome.”
Students who master all the material to get a 3 will get a grade that equates to 85 percent. Those wanting a better grade can complete some of the criteria for a 4 to bump their grade up to a 90-95 percent. If a student masters all the material for a 4 on the rubric, they will get a 100 percent.
The chance to retest prompted a few questions from parents.
“Any common assessment is re-testable,” Campbell said. “I talked to the teachers again today. If a kid had a 90 percent and that’s not good enough (for them) they can retest.”
Is there time during the school day for a student to retest, so they don’t miss an athletic practice? one woman asked.
Comet Time, the last half hour of the school day, is set aside for intervention, and retesting could be taken care of then. He’s also talked to the coaches about not starting practice until 3:30, so that gives students an hour for relearning or retesting.
In another room, math teachers Beth Jackett and Eric Holmes showed the sequence of four math tracks the students can take at CHS.
Holmes explained that the math department is still covering the same material as before, but not necessarily in the same sequence. At the senior level, they did replace a college algebra/trigonometry class with college algebra/statistics because of the greater need for students to have an understanding of statistics before college.
They are also “stacking” all the math 9 and math 10 classes, with different staff teaching the same class at the same time, a move they believe will benefit students.
When they need to reteach material for some, but not all students, one teacher can provide enrichment while another is re-teaching, Jackett said. It can also help students with understanding when they hear the same lesson from a different teacher.