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Student improvement and parent involvement goal of Grandview schools

The principals and vice principals from Grandview's middle school, high school and Compass High School gave the Grandview School Board detailed presentations on their school improvement efforts.

The School Improvement Plans presented last night had a clear focus on improving assessment and scores for students across the secondary grade levels.

Assessment has been the focus of student improvement and the Grandview School Board heard about a new grading scale that is taking hold in the middle and high schools.

This new grading system does away with the traditional 100 percent grading scores and simplifies it, assigning students a 4, instead of a 90 percent, a 3, instead of an 80 percent, and so on.

Select students at the middle and high schools have implemented this new system, though most are still hanging onto the old.

Grandview High School Principal Mike Closner said that it has really helped motivate students to do better. He said students don't see raising their score from a 2 to a 3 quite as daunting as raising it from a 70 percent to an 80 percent.

Board Director Alfonso Contreras expressed concern that having some students on this new grading scale is unfair to other students. He, along with director Tim Grow and Superintendent Kevin Chase, discussed how the grading scale could be implemented school wide.

Along with the grading scale, the schools discussed their overall assessment results and goals.

Contreras expressed considerable concern that the middle school test scores show a significant drop and he wanted to know what the school is doing to address the problem.

Grandview Middle School Principal, Jack Dalton, said they were looking at changing the culture of the school. "We should have a culture of scholars," he said.

Meanwhile, the high school is looking to reduce the number of students not meeting the target proficiency level by 10 percent from the previous years in literacy, science and math.

They are also planning to increase graduation and college attendance by 2 percent or more each year.

All three schools are focused on increasing parent involvement. Along with excellent student-led conference results, each school has focused on engaging parents in their children's education.

The middle school has created an incentive program for students that include receiving what they call a "sharp" ticket. This ticket is given in recognition of positive behavior and students trade them in for prizes.

The school has issued these tickets to parents and community members, hoping to get them to help re-enforce positive behavior.

The high school has recently put its focus into the upcoming Parents Summit, which will be held this Saturday, Nov. 13, from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the high school cafeteria.

Compass also holds student-led conferences and encourages its teachers to make two parent contacts per week. Parents also attended a meeting before the start of school to learn strategies that will facilitate their students learning and how to access attendance and grading software.

The schools were also proud to report that many of their teachers could be classified as highly qualified. Each school shows their teachers had an average 10 years teaching experience, many had master's degrees, and neither the high school nor Compass reported teachers who had to get an emergency certification.

Emma Fierro/Daily Sun News

Grandview High School Assistant Principal Matt Ellis speaks to the board about the high school'``s goals for the coming year.

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