In an earlier blog, I referred to weighted grades. The Board agreed to proceed with implementing weighted grades for 2009-10 and will approve the courses eligible for weighting when they approve high school course offerings in December.
We are adopting weighted grades because if we don’t, our students will be at a disadvantage when applying for and being accepted by many universities. One side issue that has developed is that many college applications ask if students are in the top 30% of their class, and if they are not, the applicant is automatically excluded. If schools do not have class rank, then G.P.A. is the controlling variable. A student in Westfield with a 3.2 G.P.A. right now, prior to weighted grades, is not in the top 30% of the class, yet has a G.P.A. higher than students in some schools who are in the top 30%. So having class rank appears to penalize our students. Many schools have dropped class rank (Carmel, Zionsville, Cathedral, Brebeuf) because of this, and we are looking at doing it also.
A question has been asked about full day kindergarten (FDK). The legislature did approve some funding for FDK, but not at the level that other students are funded. Thus, FDK is more expensive than two ½ day classes or another full day class like first grade.
We have two FDK classes that are offered to students who qualify through a screening process. Since the classes are so under funded, we do not plan to add more classes until the state funds at the same level as others because we’ll need twice the number of classroom teachers. However, these two classes have helped us prepare for all FDK classes. We are also preparing to build more kindergarten classrooms to accommodate the additional classroom space that is needed since FDK will mean doubling the number of classrooms needed.
Next: School Funding