Parents challenge USD 410 grade scale

Hillsboro High School graduates may be losing out on thousands of scholarship dollars.

That?s the concern expressed by a group of parents at Monday evening?s Unified School District 410 Board of Education meeting.

The parents want to see a change in the district?s current grading scale policy.

?A 4.0 (grade-point average) at Hillsboro is not the same as at another school,? said Glenn Wiebe, one parent attending the meeting.

USD 410 students earn an A for scoring 94 to 100 percent in their coursework while 90 to 100 percent is the traditional ?A-range? for other schools.

Students from schools with different grading scales could earn a 93 percent grade and one student would end up with a B while the other ends up with an A.

Because the district?s grading scale is higher than that used in most other high schools, Wiebe said, HHS graduates are at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to applying for college scholarhips.

Fifteen parents, including Wiebe and wife Maura, had signed a letter submitted last month to Superintendent Steve Noble, who advised the group to proceed with their proposal through the building principals, building improvement teams and site councils.

Noble shared the draft of a survey put together by Greg Brown, principal at Hillsboro Middle School, to gather responses from to parents, teachers and students about the issue.

Noble said he wanted to give the board an opportunity as a group to discuss the issue as well. Board member Rod Koons said initially he didn?t support the change because wasn?t aware of inequities when his children applied for scholarships.

District librarian Sandy Arnold highlighted the recent Family Reading Night at Hillsboro Elementary School.

More than 500 people participated, Arnold said, with this year marking the seventh such event she?s held.

?It?s one of my favorite things to do,? she said. ?It?s a lot of work but it?s worth it…. The reason this night is a success is because of the people I have to work with.?

In seeking direction from the board, Noble reviewed two options for running the virtual education program?either through service centers such as ESSDACK or managed by USD 410 or in cooperation with another school district.

Noble said both approaches have advantages and disadvantages.

?It?s not a money maker for a district?but a service to provide,? Noble said, adding it would be less financial risk to work through a service center.

The district would need 23 full-time equivalent students to ?be in the black,? he said.

Noble said he would bring a proposal to next month?s meeting.

Lori Soo Hoo, director of Parents as Teachers, reviewed the expanding impact of the PAT program in Marion County over the past three years, reiterating the need for continued financial support from the district, adding that last year PAT received $7,360 from USD 410.

In other business, the board:

? approved submission to Kansas Health Foundation for a grant for PAT that would include partnering with HES to implement a second language proposal.

? approved the second language proposal that would use the immersive approach employed by the Rosetta Stone curriculum.

Beginning the language program, however, will be dependent on receiving the grant funding, Noble said.

? rejected bids for purchasing a Suburban from low bidder Ed Bozarth Chevrolet, who secured the bid on the state bid list, and Midway Motors.

The board took that action because there were questions as to what options were a part of the state bid.

Both Midway Motors and Bozarth will resubmit bids after the specifications are clarified, Noble said.

? did not object to the revised language regarding the tax-increment financing and Hillsboro Business Park. No action means USD 410 does not object to the plan, Noble said.

? heard about the 2011-12 building schedule proposal, which would have a seven-period schedule with classes running from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

?What we?re about is doing more with less,? Noble said about the changes.

? approved Len Coryea as assistant track coach.

? met in executive sessions for personnel and for negotiations. No action was taken.

?

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