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home : news : news July 22, 2017

7/13/2017 2:07:00 PM
Variety of topics discussed by Highland School Board

by Christiana Hofer

The Highland School Board did a little housekeeping at the June 28 meeting, addressing items such as updates to projects, school curriculum, campus life and the grading scale.
The meeting kicked off with an announcement about the Six Rivers All Star Basketball game in Belmont, where three of Highland's 2017 graduates, Jessica Kosharek, Bray Drury and John Ross Linscheid represented Highland Schools.
Following this announcement, the school board moved on to changes they are planning on making to lesson plans; there will be an increase in reading and writing across the curriculum. Furthermore, the students at Highland are expected to create online portfolios to track progress through their classes. This practice is becoming more common among other schools, and Highland will be elevating their expectations of the student's work by designating a certain portfolio work day and a weekly portfolio and grade check to make sure the students are maintaining their studies.
As an added incentive to maintain good grades, school board members discussed allowing seniors and juniors the opportunity to leave campus during a designated work time at the end of the day called Cardinal Time, so long as grades, behavior and absences are in check. As for freshmen and sophomores, they will be allowed free time within school campus during Cardinal Time.
There will be an online tool for teachers to use to track the student's behavior, absences and grades so they can show the student where they stand, and why they can or cannot leave. Regarding semester finals, if a student has no absences and is getting an A in the class in which the final is being taken, the student may opt out of the final. This applies to second semester only.
As far as changes to the grading scale, students, among others, have complained about the difficulty of the grading scale. Members of the school board and staff agreed it was difficult, but want to encourage students to work hard to achieve excellent grades and further ready them for a college grading scale; also, many schools around the area are using a similar or exact grading scale.
A compromise was reached, and a slight amendment was added to the grading scale. Now, there is a wider range at the top, while the bottom remains unchanged. Anything 90 and above will be considered an A. Anything B- to an F has remained unchanged.
Policy Committee Report
In an attempt to make it easier for students to finish projects they have begun on school computers, the board held a discussion on allowing students to check out a school computer to continue their project at home. Some questions and concerns regarding the homework load and high speed internet arose. Further discussion will continue.
Building and Grounds Report
Highland Schools have been busy making due improvements, indoor and outdoor, to their campus. An update on the improvements being made to Tyler Field, Highland's football field, has proved to be well underway. Mowing and spraying has been scheduled, and one free load of dirt is being donated to the school as well. The lights at Tyler Field are also going to be scheduled to be replaced.
Other improvements to the school grounds include the betterment of two of the side streets coming in and out of the school, purchase of gym lights and the gym has begun being repainted, along with the boys locker room. The gym floor has been scheduled to be replaced by July 20, and the school will also be sporting the cardinal logo at the main entrance of the commons once the flooring has been changed.
The district is also doing some literal housekeeping, as they are looking to change their current storage situation. By October 1, everything must stored or it will be discarded. The district is hoping to decrease the number of storage units drastically. There are still items open for public taking that will otherwise be discarded by the above stated deadline.
Policy Development
A change will be made in volunteer policies. The change will occur between the extensiveness of the policy for volunteer coaches and classroom volunteers. While background checks will be necessary for all volunteers, it will not be necessary for classroom volunteers to keep reapplying for the position after they have already applied and been approved.
The school board also discussed the drafting of a policy regarding a trial run of public usage of the school's weight training room. This conversation led to discussion of the current policy on Sunday sports practice.
As of right now, the policy states that coaches are only allowed a one hour, non mandatory practice on Sundays. Coaches have been asking for this policy to be changed, specifically for spring sports due to the abundance of Monday night games. However, some members of the board voiced their opinion, saying that changing this policy was "asking for trouble" with parents, as many parents already do not like Sunday practice. It was also stated that a weekend away from the sport and the coach can be just as beneficial as the practice to allow students to have a break.
Highland Schools is looking for ways to promote positive culture within schools. They are looking to do this by reinstating the Student of the Month. Teachers will nominate students based on things they see that speaks volumes to the student's character.
Another idea brought up in the meeting was Letter Winner's Club. Letter Winner's Club will be added to extra curricular activities, and will include book studies and setting goals/standards. They will elect officers and hold fundraisers as any other extra curricular activity.
Letter Winner's Club will encourage kids to go out for sports and to search for volunteer activities to better the community around them. A motion to restart Letter Winner's Club was passed.
In an effort to help students better prepare for their future, teachers for grades 6-12 will look at software called Career Cruising. This software will help match students to careers based on their interests and talents. In order to incorporate academic career planning into curriculum, students will be responsible for updating a tab on their online portfolios dedicated to their career planning.
Highland will also be working with CESA 3 to set up job shadows and apprenticeships in order to explore their fields of interest. Highland is also working with Southwest Technical College in order to offer more A.P. classes to help students get further ahead in their education.
Student Handbooks
Many small changes have been made to Highland's student handbook. There has been a change in staff as Kari Smith is no longer the Athletic Director for Highland. Changes in the schedule have been implemented as well, as the school day now lasts until 3:28 p.m.
Changes to the student activity handbook will also be put into place. Regarding academic ineligibility, failing a class in the spring semester will result in ineligibility for the following fall sport. A student deemed ineligible due to an unacceptable grade in a class will be able to regain eligibility on a Monday or Thursday when the grade reaches a D- or higher.
In addition to these statements, major violations will count against incoming freshmen. Any students who commit a major violation will not be able to participate in any All Star games, and will not be eligible for awards in the sport they were in when the violation was committed. A student who self refers will receive a lesser penalty.
An amendment to the coaches handbook also states that spring and fall sports banquets will go back to girls and boys banquets being separate. Following this change, it was noted that due to lack of availability of referees, there will be more football games taking place on Thursdays and Saturdays.
Teacher Resignations
To conclude the meeting, the board accepted two teacher resignations. Kerby Thompson, the K-12 music director and Jamie Link, the middle and high school science teacher, have resigned. A motion of their resignations was been approved with gratitude of their service to the district.

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