School board updated on grading software discussion
The USD 204 Board of Education Monday received an update on the progress of a special committee reviewing problems with the district’s grading software.
Teachers from Bonner Springs High School earlier told the board that the new software, Skyward, would only calculate grades on a total points basis, and the decision to use this system rather than the former weighted grading system was a large shift in grading philosophies.
A committee made up of Ray Cox, board president, and board members Patricia Welicky and David Pierce met with teachers and Skyward officials to discuss the issue. Pierce said teachers were going to work with Skyward to make the grading system work for them, because if they tried to use both their former system and the current system, it would be twice the work.
Pierce said according to Skyward, USD 204 was the first of 1,800 districts using Skyward to report such problems, so Skyward seemed eager to help. The company was going to use Bonner as a model district to create a program for balancing quarter and semester grades.
Welicky said when the district made the decision to begin using the software, there was a confusion between Skyward’s definition of “weighting” grades and teachers’ definition of weighted grades. That is why they didn’t realize the grades wouldn’t be calculated as they had been in the past until the end of the fall semester.
Ken Clark, district director of technology, was to continue to meet with Skyward officials.
In other business, the board:
• Learned the district received four bids to replace bleachers, ranging between $220,000 and $309,000. Superintendent Robert VanMaren said there was a big difference in the way each bidder calculated their costs, so district officials were going to meet with two of the bidders, but they may send the item back out to bid.
• Approved a Coca-Cola contract that would help the district earn some funds on vending machines. The five-year contract also requires Coca-Cola to make a $1,000 contribution to the district’s education foundation each year.
• Approved a resolution of support for Healthy Communities Wyandotte County, which is asking the county to use some of its casino revenues for healthy living programs and facilities in the county.
• Approved minutes from the Feb. 21 meeting and warrants totaling $224,405.
• Heard Cox commend the high school wrestling and boys and girls basketball teams on their performance.
• Discussed the weight-training summer workout schedule, which board member Tim McGinnis thought was too restrictive and some students wouldn’t be able to meet the hours. The board decided to put the matter on a future meeting agenda.
• Approved contracts and resignations.
• Conducted a 10-minute executive session for non-elected personnel and a 20-minute executive session for negotiations. No action was taken after either session.