Special Meeting for Wamego’s USD 320

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The Community Grading Policy Committee gave its report to the USD 320 Board of Education during a Special Board meeting Thursday night. This committee was formed after several community members met with Superintendent Denise O’Dea and High School Principal Tim Winter, to discuss the growing community concerns over the grading policy at Wamego High School.

Committee members Sheryl Wohler and Chris Hupe opened the discussion by saying the partnership with the community, teachers and school administration was a little unorthodox and unconventional, but it was a positive way to gain understanding of the issue, and everyone learned a lot.

The Committee takeaways after review of concerns included not much research based instructional strategies, there’s no longer ‘honor’ in the honor roll, with 80 percent of the high school students earning honor roll status, the definition of a ‘grade’ with multiple retakes and homework assignments that are not counted, the need for both Student and Faculty accountability, and asking the question of how this education model push the top students.

The Committee’s findings were that the current policy isn’t perfect, which most aren’t, but it exists FOR the students. There was nothing but praise for the teachers and administration for their continued commitment to teaching. The Board and Committee committed to ongoing communication with the public as they move forward.

The USD 320 Board voted to make major technology purchases during the special meeting. Technology Director Anita Staats (Stats) and Network Administrator Mark Ten Eyk submitted a priority list of Technology Purchases for the 2013-14 school year that was tabled from the last board meeting. .

The list contained 8 items. Board Member Mike Malin made a motion to break out the list that included one for the purchase of a Data Server Virtualization DO for a cost of $130,000. The vote was unanimous. Board Member Richard Weixelman made a motion to purchase 55 Teacher Laptops with Microsoft Office at a cost of $49,500. The vote was 5 to 2. Motions were made for two other items, including 25 Wamego Middle School Mobil Carts at a cost of $22,500, and 26 Wamego Middle School Lab D8’s at a cost of $19,500. The vote for both items was 4 to 3.

Before the vote, Board Member Ken Hitch asked if the District was playing catch-up with Technology? That question was answered with laughter from the audience. According to Superintendent Denise O’Dea, the funds have been budgeted to purchase the entire list, but the Board chose a different direction