Unit 40 Board Changes Grading Scale


Published on May 21 2018 10:09 pm
Last Updated on May 22 2018 7:38 am
Written by Greg Sapp

The Effingham Unit 40 Board of Education Monday voted to change the grading scale, effective with the coming school year.

The new scale will be: "A"--90 to 100; "B"--80-89; "C"--70-79; "D"--60-69...and "F"--59 and lower.

Unit 40 Curriculum Director Michelle Beck explained that the change would put the district on equal footing with other schools in the Apollo Conference, and that the majority of school districts in the local Regional Office of Education district utilize the grading scale.

There was much discussion on the issue, and desire from some on the Board to make sure students are still encouraged to do their best since a 90 will now mean an "A". 

Board President Jeff Michael said they don't want students to take "less strenuous" classes in an effort to keep their grade level up.

Board member Kathleen Smith agreed, but said there were students who missed out on college incentives when competing with other Apollo Conference students because of the differing grading scales at the schools.

Beck explained that they will keep +'s for the top two scores in each category and -'s for the lowest two scores in each category. As an example, a 92 will be an "A-", and an 88 will be a "B+".

The implementation will occur in time for the start of the new school year in August.

The Board agreed to move ahead with health and life safety work at district buildings. At the ELC, the work will involve removing one set of glass doors leading into the building and replacing those with solid doors. Doors will also be installed leading to classrooms on the west, just as there are doors to the east. At South Side, a second set of doors will be returned to restrict access to the building. At Central, security cameras will be added to cover blind areas in the building. At the junior high, panic bars will be added, and someone will go out to greet those seeking access to the building. Assistant Superintendent Jason Fox admitted "it's not ideal". Board member Angie Byers asked Fox whether the second set of entry doors could be made restrictive. Fox said he'd talk with the district's architects as to what could be done. The district is hesitant to spend much on the work since major renovations to the junior high building are being considered. At the high school, a sliding window will be added to restrict access to the office from the south and additional panic bars will be installed.

Fox hopes the projects will be completed in time for the start of the school year.

Kate Passalacqua of Weis Insurance was present to share that the District might spend less on health insurance in the coming year. Passalacqua explained that the district's self insurance plan is starting to pay dividends due to a couple of good claims years, and that a trend of better numbers could be possible.

Fox shared a new copier agreement that will mean 30 new units at a lower cost. The five year lease agreement is with Watts Copiers.

The Board amended the budget for the current fiscal year. Funds in the Education Fund were adjusted in case of a contract agreement and revenues in the Tier Funding package from the State and in Corporate Personal Property Replacement Tax funds were adjusted down.

Board members expelled a student from Monday through the end of the 2018-19 school year, but also commended the Effingham High School girls basketball team for their Elite Eight finish and their single season school record setting 31 wins.

There were many personnel moves approved. Resignations were accepted from teachers Michelle Michael, Megan Logue, Courtney Leach and Lee Althoff. Althoff also resigned as boys tennis coach and soccer coach. Resignations were also accepted from Whitney Duncan as paraprofessional and frosh/soph girls basketball coach, Stacey Macklin as social worker, and Rebecca Meyers as junior prom and high school pom pon sponsor.

Retirements were accepted from Janice Thomas as a teacher, Marilyn Sudkamp as head custodian at the junior high, and Vivian Cain as a cafeteria monitor. Leaves of absences were accepted from Diane Tieffel and Kathryn Roepke. Transfers were approved for Michelle Hinterscher as Math teacher at the high school, Elizabeth Budde as a seven hour cook at Central, Gwen Kuhns as a 5-1/2 hour cook at Central, and Paula Bullard as a 5-1/2 hour cook at the high school.

There were also several hirings: Obie Farmer as a behind the wheel Driver's Education instructor; Jamie Irwin as a two hour bus driver, Lisa Beck and Alexandra Niebrugge as special education teachers at the junior high; Jessica Barthelme as an extended school year Special Education teacher, Jennifer Castillo as an extended school year speech pathologist, Angie Probst, Diana Brown and Josaphine Westendorf as extended school year paraprofessionals, Shari Long as extended school year nurse paraprofessional, and Kody Line for summer maintenance.