Wamego High School Grading System Under Scrutiny

It was standing room only at Wamego’s School Board meeting Monday. The agenda item that garnered the most attention was Wamego High School’s current grading policy. The fact that it was an agenda item caused some contentious statements by several board members about the timing without a general discussion by the board.

The current policy has been in place for more than four years, and Board member Mark Bettencourt thought it was time to take a look at the policy and how it has affected the students. He has researched the issue and put together a power point presentation to ask some serious questions about the policy.

According to Bettencourt, the current policy at Wamego High School allows students to re-take tests up to 5 times or until they score 70 or above. His research questioned whether this gives the students the learning skills to compete in the global market, Whether the policy leads to a poor correlation of data between the G-P-A and A-C-T, or whether students get a false sense of where they stand.

Bettencourt invited KSU Finance Professor Fred Smith to share his experience with students, citing students are extremely efficient. He said there are no re-takes at KSU, but the focus is on the process rather than the outcome. He said the most successful students are the ones who already know how to learn. This kicked back the discussion on the learning process at Wamego High School.

After a lot of back and forth discussions between board members, there were no real answers to the questions, but it did raise the need to gather and study more data from recent Wamego High School graduates, to find out how they felt they were prepared for college and/or life.

The annual renewal of the Capital Outlay Resolution was up for a vote. Two years ago, the resolution was passed for a period of five years in an amount not to exceed eight mills. Concerned citizens put together a petition drive to get the issue to the voters, which cost the District over $5,ooo. The voters spoke and the mills were capped at four and were allowed to expire.

It’s time to renew the resolution to levy tax for Capital Outlay Fund, and the agenda included a resolution calling for an annual tax levy not to exceed one year in an amount not to exceed eight mills. According to Board President Phil Wethington, he received many concerned citizen calls, and proposed the one-year period to cap the mills at four. Superintendent Denise O’Dea went over a long list of needs within the District, and Board Members Mike Malin and Ken Hitch said it may be feasible to do a bond issue since interest rates are so low. The resolution passed unanimously.