Clarke schools moves toward changing its grading system

Posted: July 23, 2013

The Winchester Star

BERRYVILLE — The Clarke County school division is looking at implementing a 10-point grading scale for this fall.

In June, the School Board voted 3-1 to forgo implementing a 10-point scale for the time being and chose instead to keep the division’s nine-point system.

But after researching other divisions’ policies and conducting a survey of parents and staff, administrators said they are in agreement to move to the new scale.

“We have a lot of support from employees and the teaching ranks,” said Assistant Superintendent Rick Catlett at a School Board meeting Monday at D.G. Cooley Elementary School.

According to officials, 84.8 percent of the 67 staff members and 88 percent of the 59 parents who responded to the survey were in favor of the 10-point scale.

Under a 10-point grading scale, 90 to 100 is an A; 80 to 89 a B; 70 to 79 a C; 60 to 69 a D; and 59 or below an F.

Under Clarke County’s nine-point scale, 92 to 100 is an A; 83 to 91 a B; 74 to 82 a C; 65 to 73 a D, and 64 or below an F.

On Monday, the School Board voted unanimously to move the plan forward. At the next board meeting, administrators will discuss how to transition the new grading scale and whether or not to keep the +/- with each grade.

Catlett called the decision timeframe a “time crunch” and that school officials will have to consider the impact the new scale would have on high school transcripts.

Also at the meeting:

The School Board approved a bid by Caldwell and Santmyer Inc. of Berryville for the conversion of the former Clarke County High School into an elementary school, which will ultimately house students attending pre-kindergarten through third grade.

The Berryville firm bid $5,720,189, and was chosen among four firms.

Renovations to the former high school will include adding a proposed 12,290-square-foot addition on the north side of the building on Westwood Road and a future 21,102-square-foot addition to the west end of the facility, which will not be built at this time due to a lack of funding.

The School Board has $7.2 million to spend following the construction of the new Clarke County High School on Mosby Boulevard, which opened last August. The money is a result of that project coming in under budget.

As part of the project, fourth- and fifth-graders will remain at D.G. Cooley Elementary, and at some point, during a second phase, will be moved to the former high school, leaving Cooley for administrative use.

Officials hope the initial part of the project can be completed by summer 2014.

The board voted for the emergency procurement of a contractor to replace the steps to Berryville Primary, which were condemned in August 2012.

“That’s a life-safety issue,” said board member Jim Brinkmeier.

The division is looking to hire a clerk of the works for the Clarke County High School renovation project. The position would be temporary (10 to 12 months) and pay between $25 and $35 an hour.

A clerk of the works represents the architect or client on a construction site.

Present at the meeting were chairwoman Beth Leffel, vice-chairman Chip Schutte and members Jim Brinkmeier, Barbara Lee and Janet Creager Alger.

— Contact Rebecca Layne at rlayne@winchesterstar.com