May 17, 2008
I was disappointed last week when one of our student reporters used her position with the Park Record to publicly malign one of our excellent teachers. Ms. Wright has taken an existing Family and Consumer Science program and turned it into one of the leading models for the state.
The student columnist makes three basic assertions. The first is that if students want to be involved in extra-curricular programs, they should avoid this class or their GPA will suffer. After review, I have found numerous examples of students who have been heavily involved in extra-curricular programs and yet have been able to earn an A in the class. Other students have found that missing her class in excess has led to a declined grade, but it is a choice they are willing to make.
The second assertion is that the Foods class should be an easy A. "Who gets a B in an intro Foods class, please." We expect all of our teachers in all content areas to have rigorous standards and high expectations of their students. We have many students taking this course who have aspirations of entering the culinary arts profession. I commend Ms. Wright for having high standards and expectations for her class. The assumption of A’s for all is one that I cannot support. If everyone received an A in the class, I would question the grading practices of the teacher and wonder if our standards were rigorous enough.
The third assertion is that Ms. Wright’s grading practices are unfair and contrary to policy and law. After being asked by a parent to intervene and change her daughter’s grade, I did a thorough review of Ms. Wright’s grading practice. In my opinion she clearly establishes the expectations for her classes and is fair, consistent, and in compliance with policy and law. The school board has reviewed my analysis and supports me in this decision.
The positive that has come out of this discussion regarding attendance and grades is that the board has established an Attendance Policy Committee. Their assignment is to review any concerns regarding attendance and grades, review policies and practices from throughout the state and in similar resort communities, and to make recommendations to the board regarding any existing or potential policies. You will be hearing more about the results of this committee’s work in the near future.