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Monday, March 12, 2018

Fort Thomas School Board to Discuss Grading Policy Change

The state champion Highlands High School We the People team will head to the DC area for the national competition.
Tonight's Fort Thomas Independent School Boards meeting will be held at Woodfill Elementary to accommodate all of the state champions in the district.

The meeting will take place at 6:30 p.m. and will include discussion on proposed changes to the grading scale.

The change involves moving the current grading scale to a uniform ten-point scale, that is consistent with many other districts around the state and nation.

The scale was most recently changed in 2007 with that same notion, to be more comparable with other districts.

The board then, wanted to give Fort Thomas Independent students the same advantage in applying for college scholarships and entry into programs.

"We are again reviewing it, 11 years later, to ensure our students are not at a disadvantage, especially with almost all districts in Kentucky and all of Ohio, moving to a 10-point scale," said Superintendent, Dr. Karen Cheser. "No matter the scale, we know our teachers will continue to inspire high levels of learning and accomplishment in our students."

The district started this process by exploring the Grading Policy as it pertained to the alpha and numeric grading scale.

"The original prompt for input and discussion was in regards to adjusting the grading scale to reflect a ten-point scale or retaining our current scale as it is presently documented in the board policy," said Assistant Superintendent, Bill Bradford.

He said that after two committee meetings and a public input survey, the question has now shifted.

"We are now focused on determining which format of a ten-point scale is our preferred option to meet the needs of our students."

The committee included multiple stakeholder groups: principals, teachers, community members, parents, and students, who have met twice already. He said there is a follow-up meeting scheduled for March 20th.

The public input survey was completed by 900 parents and teachers.

"In each of these venues, a predominant preferred option is to adjust the grading scale to a 10-point scale," he said.

The shift to this grading policy towards a ten-point scale is something the administration has noticed in the past, more prominently, and Highlands isn't the only one regionally that could make the change.

"Many districts around us have taken steps to level the playing field as it relates to college entrance and scholarship opportunities that have a grade point average attached to them," said Assistant Superintendent, Jamee Flaherty. "Most recently, there have been other high schools in our region that have adopted a ten-point scale including Walton Verona and Beechwood."

For Board Chair, Jeff Beach, institutional knowledge of the last scale change has helped to bring perspective to this discussion full-circle.

"The last revision in 2007 was made to provide more even comparisons to other school systems in Kentucky when factoring GPA as well as to align grading standards more closely to professional development recommendations," he said.

The logistics of changing the grading scale can be easily managed through Infinite Campus and district officials are confident that class ranking status will not be affected.

A discussion of this policy will be discussed among the board tonight, which will then require a first and second reading before passage before the end of the year.

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