Grade scale amended for Nelson Co. to help high schoolers compete for more KEES scholarships; board chair wants to see "an 'A,' not a 'B' that looks like an 'A'"

Kentucky Standard, Bardstown, March 20, 2016

Nelson County board approves adjusting grading scale
to match other districts
Last day, graduation dates approved
By Kacie Goode

Students may be earning the same points on assignments, but those numbers will mean a different letter grade as the board approved to change the grading scale Tuesday night.

“What we’re really looking to do is start at the top of the grade scale and work our way down,” said NCS Superintendent Anthony Orr. The goal is to have a simpler approach to the way students are graded and align the scale with other districts.

The revised grade scale applied to grades 4-12 would include 90-100 (A); 80-89 (B); 70-79 (C); 60-69 (D); and 0-59 (F).

The change, Orr said, would help more students have access to KEES (Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship) money.

Board member Larry Pate said he was fine with the revision, but wanted to make sure families were notified when students dropped below the threshold.

Chairman Diane Berry said she wanted to make sure teachers were “teaching up,” and not maintaining, so that students would progress.

“I want a student to deserve an A, not a B that looks like an A,” she said.

Board member David Norman liked the revision because it would allow local students a better chance at receiving the scholarships that students in other districts (who already have the similar scale) are getting.

“Any money we can get to them” is important, he said. “I want our kids judged the same as other kids are judged.”

The revised scale will go into effect next school year.

Last day of school and graduation

At the board’s last meeting, it agreed to put off a decision on scheduling a final makeup day for a snow day missed in early February. On Tuesday, the board agreed to waive that day for students, bringing the district down to 173 instructional days.

“(That’s) well within the guidelines of 170, the minimum) said Tim Beck, director of student support services.

That doesn’t change the staff contractual days, though, and there would still be 1.5 days the staff would be contracted on.

“This is only a waiver for the students,” he said.

The last day of school for students would be Friday, May 20. Nelson County High School’s graduation would be at 5:30 p.m. May 20, and Thomas Nelson High School’s graduation would be at 7:30 p.m. that same day.

Orr said the district still wants to be prepared for potential flood days, and that they would be working with teachers to get at least one more Best Day packet prepared if that were to occur.

NCS-CSF update

Dorothy White, head of the Nelson County Schools Community Support Foundation, gave an update on the group that was rejuvenated this year.

White was introduced as the foundation’s director in January, and has met with the newly named Board of Directors to discuss how the foundation can support education programs in the district.

This year, the foundation will be giving out several scholarships — which had previously been established — to Nelson County seniors at the annual senior awards banquet.

“It’s been my pleasure, since I retired from the (Bardstown-Nelson County Chamber of Commerce), to be exposed to the whole school system,” White said. “It’s really been interesting to find out all the wonderful things you do here.”

She said the foundation looks to continue building its relationship with the community and area business as it gets back on its feet.

KISTA bus sale

The board approved participation in the KISTA Bus Sale and plans to sell four 1999 school buses with more than 200,000 miles on them. Nelson County Schools chief operating officer Tim Hockensmith also asked that Orr be authorized to approve or reject the bids as they come, so as to allow the district to work with local church groups and nonprofits that might be interested.

“If a local person shows interest, we always want to work with those folks first,” he said.

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