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Rib Lake eyes grading change

Rib Lake eyes grading change Rib Lake eyes grading change

Will shift to a standards based system with more detail for parents

Rib Lake school district is changing a portion of the grading scale by drafting an elementary school plan to convert to standards based grading.

The replacement system will provide more detailed information on student growth to help parents recognize what areas their children need additional support by rating them on a number scale in niche areas, rather than a single letter scale grade. The school is only in the planning stage right now, and the system will be implemented at a later date.

“We’d be reporting on how kids are doing on specific standards, rather than just saying they get an A over all,” explained elementary school principal Jon Dallmann. “For example, if we’re talking about second grade math, in the old style system you’d just have your letter grade for the class. For us, we have ‘operations and algebraic thinking’ and then two bullet points: ‘represents and solves problems in addition and subtraction within 100’ and ‘fluently add and subtract within 20 using mental strategies.’ So we’re going to be letting parents know how their student is doing with more specific information.”

“With the scale, a four means a student is above and beyond expectations, and can even help other students with their work, almost teaching in some limited aspects,” said Dallmann. “A three is going to be A’s too, and B’s, but there’s variables.” District administrator Rick Cardey pointed out that the system isn’t all that new, because when the elementary school first opened they had a checklist on each report card of what the students were expected to master. “It’s marketed different, but it’s a lot of the same thing,” he said. “It tells parents more than an ‘S’ or an ‘S+’ does... It’s just to prove the standards. It’s more about the process of what we’re doing than if it’s a number or a letter grade.”

Summer school

Rib Lake will be offering Summer School classes exclusively in virtual format during June and July, with a multitude of classes offered to all students and an ongoing registration period. The district hopes to return to physical class in the next upcoming school year, but most things are still uncertain.

Right now, like everyone, the board is working hard to find a way to reopen, but they’re awaiting guidance on how to do it properly and effectively. They’ll be working closely with the county health department including health officer Patty Krug to interpret those guidelines, and also plan to create a committee of Rib Lake stakeholders to determine what things will look like in each area of each school.

“We are going to be part of a county consortium of schools that’ll be meeting with the health department when the road map to school reopening from [Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction] is put out and guidance becomes available. We’re expecting that June 22,” said Cardey.

Resource officer The board opted to keep their resource officer, Rib Lake police chief Derek Beckstrand, on contract after he completed his first year at the school, but they aren’t being charged for the time he’s not there with the closures. The board unanimously agreed having the officer present in the school is beneficial, and in more ways than physical protection.

“It’s important to have those kids exposed to [a good officer like ours] with all the stuff that’s going on now about police officers,” said board member Rollie Thums, referring to the push back police have been receiving in response to the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin. “We need to show them that they need to think for themselves and find out officers are just people with a uniform on and a job to do... [If we didn’t bring our resource officer back,] we’d be joining the masses and there’s no way in heck I want to be associated with them, because to me, blue lives matter.”

The board noted the advantage of having children grow up around an officer has already been observed, saying one young girl with a lot of anxiety around police has relaxed around officers a bit since Beckstrand’s been in the school for the past year.

In addition, traffic in front of the school slowed down a notable amount due to the officer’s presence.

The district saved some money on their budget by not buying math text books that the administration said would be ineffective in the current teaching climate, pushing off the purchase of some furniture, and saved on utilities. They made minor adjustments to the budget, and the board will issue an official statement to be published in The Star News at a later date.

“We’re not spending extra money,” said Cardey about the budget revision. “We’re just taking some from one category and putting it into the next. It will actually help us maneuver through next year, to be a little more solid.”

Other business:

_ Rib Lake school district received a high achievement award from the Wisconsin Department of Public Interaction for the second year in a row.

_ Brian Able resigned as Girls’ JV basketball coach, but will stay on as a football coach.

_ A new science teacher candidate is being considered for hire, who previously worked for the Department of Natural Resources.

_ The summer lunch program is slotted to continue supplying meals to 141 students.

_ Substitute teacher pay went up to $110 a day.

_ A portion of roofing needs further work done, as it continues to leak.