School division proposes changes to grading policy, relocating LFK students during construction – Royal Examiner


Earlier this week, the Warren County Public School (WCPS) superintendent and staff detailed proposed plans for an updated division-wide grading policy, as well as where to move students during upcoming renovations at Leslie Fox Keyser Elementary School (LFK).

WCPS Superintendent Christopher Ballenger (left) explains the proposed grading policy changes to Warren County School Board member Andrea Lo (seated). Photos and video by Mark Williams, Royal Examiner.

WCPS Superintendent Christopher Ballenger and other division staff provided information and recommendations to Warren County School Board Chair Kristen Pence, Vice Chair Ralph Rinaldi and members Antoinette Funk, Andrea Lo and Melanie Salins during the council business meeting on Wednesday, May 18.

In discussing the updates to the grading policy, Ballenger told the board that he met with three committees of elementary, middle and high school teachers and administrators to review the current policy, which was updated. day in January 2018.

Ballenger’s presentation to the school board included changes recommended by each of the committees to the level met, and he said a final version will be presented to the board for review.

“We’ve been able to deliver a decent product that teachers are proud of,” Ballenger said of the draft grading policy document.

One of the “biggest changes,” he said, includes adding definitions for several terms, including “no credit,” which is defined as a zero for a college or high school assignment.

Ballenger explained that all three committees felt it was important to define what no credit means. “That means you get nothing,” he said. “We had to make sure that students, parents, teachers and everyone else understood that no credit means zero.”

For example, the proposed high school grading policy states that credit will only be given for attempted assignments. No credit will be given for assignments not attempted.

At the teacher’s discretion, students may be allowed to catch up, retake, and/or correct material in a timely manner, depending on the pace of the course, and students should schedule a time with the teacher which may fall outside normal class time of the course. , according to the draft document.

The goal, Ballenger said, is to “ensure students take some responsibility for their grades.”

Pence, who said she appreciated the work that has been done to draft an updated grading policy, said: “It’s going to be a tough year for some students, but hopefully it will better prepare them for the world. real and college.”

WCPS is now seeking public comment on this and any proposed changes to the Rankings Policy. Click here to read the draft policy.

Submitted grant proposal projects

WCPS Director of Elementary Instruction Lisa Rudacille, who is also Principal of E. Wilson Morrison Elementary School, and WCPS Title I and Title III Coordinator Donna Boies, presentation to school board members with details on Titles I, II, III and IV draft grant applications.

WCPS Elementary Education Director Lisa Rudacille (right) and WCPS Title I and Title III Coordinator Donna Boies (left) present draft grant applications to the school board during the May 18 business session .

Applications for Credentials IA, II-A, III-A, and IV-A seek federal funding to improve basic education programs, training and recruitment of teachers and principals, support for the teaching of language for English learners and to increase the ability of school divisions to provide all students with access to a comprehensive education, administrators said.

While no motions were needed Wednesday from the school board, Rudacille and Boies said a motion and vote to approve the grant applications will be sought at the June 1 board meeting. They wanted to give council members a chance to review the draft applications now before making a decision on them next month.

Where will LFK students go?

Division staff noted that with construction of the LFK renovations slated to begin in January 2023, there are several considerations to be made now prior to the start date so that the board can make decisions and parents can be informed. The students will be relocated from August, they said.

(Left to right) Michael Hirsch, WCPS Director of Special Services and Homelessness Liaison; WCPS Maintenance Manager Greg Livesay; Jessica Vacca, Deputy Director of LFK; and WCPS Assistant Superintendent for Administration George “Buck” Smith presented the challenges and recommendations for moving LFK students during the planned construction phases at the elementary school.

“We need to have a plan in place,” said Ballenger, who added that staff were considering their options and what would be the best choices to ensure consistency for students, as well as to accommodate construction.

For example, one of the challenges is the limited space on the LFK property site that will not allow the use of modular buildings for the duration of the project, which is expected to be completed by August 2024, Livesay said.

Ballenger added that the topography at LFK is also a problem since the school is on a hill. And it is not conceivable to put a modular unit on the asphalt where it would occupy parking spaces. Livesay also noted the additional costs associated with installing add-ons.

LFK Deputy Principal Jessica Vacca accepted Ballenger’s recommendation to move fifth-graders to Warren County Middle School during specific construction phases. School administrators have experience with such a move because it was done during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when students had to socially distance themselves.

Having a school with over 530 students, with no walls and no doors made it difficult to keep students at LFK during the pandemic, so fifth graders went to middle school. Vacca said students and parents have done well with this strategy.

Relocating pre-kindergartens is also a consideration, Hirsch said. Some of the suggested options included moving their classes to spaces available at other elementary schools during renovations or at Riverton United Methodist Church, which donated classroom spaces to WCPS.

Hirsch noted that there are many students with disabilities among the incoming class of preschoolers who will also need specific accommodations, and he noted that minimizing their transitions is key.

Smith said there are also bus considerations to make, as well as food service, access to a nurse, making sure the facility is ADA compliant, that there’s enough communications available and green space for outdoor games. “These are just some of the challenges ahead,” he said.

Rinaldi said he supports the division’s current plan and recommendations and added that there is always room for adjustments.


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