Student grades to be based on attendance
In a move that speaks volumes about the new school administration in Webster, students who have more than six unexcused absences will see their grades drop by one full letter or 10 points. And the administration means business. A student who has a grade of “B” but has seven unexcused absences will now see that grade drop to a “C.” It will be a rude awakening indeed for those who are accustomed to getting by with the slightest of effort. The days of slacking are a thing of the past. The new attendance requirement will become the norm effective September 2012, just a few short months away.
Using the Common Core State Standards as their guideline and, therefore, what is expected of students and the priorities established to meet those guidelines, teachers are able to give students the opportunity to improve themselves and to achieve a higher level of success. Teachers, parents, and community leaders have all helped to create the Common Core Standards.
Students will be notified of the new policy during an assembly at the beginning of the 2012-13 academic year and their parents will be notified by e-mail, phone system, or letter. In an interview last week, interim Bartlett Jr-Sr High School Principal Dr. Stephen Dlott said the entire process is an attempt to channel kids in the right direction. Dr. Dlott states that “an overwhelming majority of parents do want their children to succeed and the students will become more successful as they too want success.”
Dr. Dlott further stated that there is a need “to raise standards and reduce failure, as failure breeds failure.” The rationale is that the teachers and administration want to encourage the school’s values, which will be done through participation. This is an issue of concern at Bartlett as some students do not participate. Habits are set at the Junior High level and the new standards are a great way to establish what is expected of each student.
Dr. Dlott also elaborated on the dramatic increase of Advanced Placement courses that will be available. These college-level classes will increase from three to nine offerings and will be very competitive. The AP courses will be: English Language; English Literature; Calculus AB; U.S. History; Statistics; Biology; Chemistry; Environmental Science; and Studio Art: Drawing. He noted that “when you set high expectations, students will hurdle that bar. They will take their cue from adults to challenge themselves. Students will not be competing on just a local level but must be world-competitive. The faculty and administration has found that students will rise to the challenge.”
Evidence of changing and evolving standards can be found by the fresh ideas brought out by those teachers from other areas who are on staff. A cosmopolitan feel and ideas percolating into the mind-sets of the teaching staff are exciting students about their education and helping to build a solid base for their future education after high school. Dr. Dlott confirmed that of the 113 students who recently graduated, 88% are going on to a higher educational level.
The process for the new policy began when the school staff saw an issue and wanted to address it in the most viable manner. A committee was formed that worked on student absenteeism and tardiness. The guidance department, administration, and teachers worked closely together to tackle the issue. The general feeling was that all departments agreed the issue was not insurmountable and that it could be remedied. To assist students through the adjustment period, a full-time counselor has been added to the staff. Great success is expected.
Dr. Dlott also provided details on the 10-year review committee that had begun its process of analyzing Bartlett’s Jr/Sr High School’s strengths and weaknesses in preparation for the NEASC (New England Assoc of Schools and Colleges) school evaluation. The committee members consist of Van Constantine, David Ellis, and Betty Sabaj and the group expects to have their report completed by Spring 2013. Dr. Dlott expressed high praise towards the committee members. The report that is generated is then submitted to the NEASC, which reviews the submission before the review group’s arrival, expected in either Fall 2013 or Spring 2014.
- Tuesday, 10 July 2012
- Posted in Categories: : News