Piqua BOE approves standards-based report card

Four-point mastery scale to be implemented for grades K-6

By Aimee Hancock

PIQUA — The Piqua Board of Education heard from Teresa Anderson, director of curriculum for K-6, about the implementation of a standards-based report card for primary grades during its regular meeting on Wednesday.

“At the primary level, we’re beginning to convert to the points scale instead of using letter grades, so that transition will begin this year,” Anderson said.

Anderson added that the intermediate buildings will be doing a combination of the points scale and letter grades for another year to two years while the transition takes full effect in the primary grades.

Work is currently being done now, Anderson said, to determine the most effective ways to introduce this new system to parents so that they fully understand the changes set to take place and what they can expect from the new report cards.

The new grading system will implement a four-point mastery scale for each subject with the points described as follows:

• 4 — Exceeds grade level expectations.

• 3 — Goal: meeting grade level expectations.

• 2 — Approaching grade level expectations.

• 1 — Limited: skills are limited, frequent support is needed.

Anderson added that the purpose of the new grading system is to provide parents with a more clear idea of where their children are with regard to their progress and skill in each subject.

“In a standards-based report card, you will see every specific component … so, you will be able to tell exactly where (the) strengths and weaknesses are and what needs worked on,” she said.

The board also heard from director of curriculum Scott Bloom, who spoke about a new human systems course that will be offered this year for incoming ninth-graders.

“(This course) will introduce them to a pretty wide scope of biomedical/medical field kinds of things in the human body systems realm,” Bloom said. “To that end, we have worked hard with the teacher (Dana Pencil) that’s going to be in there to develop that and we’ve basically written a course from top to bottom.”

Bloom added that students in this course will have available to them several educational tools, including clay mannequins to build body systems on, and will study topics, such as DNA fingerprinting, simulated blood-typing and urinalysis, and EKGs and blood pressure monitoring.

“They will be able to do everything that they might do in the medical field at a ninth grade level, so that they start to really feel what this is like, and we can start to spark some of those interests in the medical field and medical careers,” Bloom said.

Superintendent Dwayne Thompson gave the board an update on the first year of random drug testing.

Thompson began by stating Great Lakes Biomedical is the company that conducts the drug testing on behalf of the district. He added that random testing was conducted on students in grades seven through 12 who participate in sports, band, and show choir.

“I think it went very well,” he said. “We want to make sure our students have a safe environment, as well as our coaches, and (to make sure) there is a drug-free environment for our students.”

Thompson went on to explain that all dates of drug testing are randomized and that the school provides rosters of students participating in the aforementioned activities to Great Lakes Biomedical, which is then responsible for pulling the names, randomly, of the students to be tested.

“They run the full process with trained lab technicians,” Thompson said. “Mr. Lyons, myself, Mr. Messick, and Mr. Hare, our athletic director, are present to supervise the process and students, and we’re there to answer questions and communicate to the parents that drug testing did happen on that day.”

If a test is positive after being sent to the lab, Thompson said, a physician from the lab will then contact the parents and verify if the student is on a medication or has any other reason to have tested positive for the drug in question.

“They have a full dialogue with the parents before they notify us,” Thompson said.

Over 250 students were randomly tested this past year, Thompson said, and out of those, four tests gave positive results after being tested in the lab. Of those four, he said, two of them were for marijuana, and two of them were for nicotine.

“Three of those four students with a positive test all met the requirements and went to some type of a medical course to abstain from the drug, complied fully, and got early entrance back into their sports program,” Thompson said.

He added that one student out of the four, who had tested positive for nicotine, was 18 years old and decided they did not wish to abstain from nicotine and instead chose to drop out of the school activity.

“We’re serious about making sure the environment is drug-free, and I think our kids are learning that more and more, and seeing our seriousness about it, so we’re going to continue to do what we can,” Thompson said.

In other business, the board approved:

• The resignation and hiring of personnel.

• The superintendent’s agenda.

• Revisions/update to NEOLA Board Policy.

• Agreements with the Miami County Educational Service Center.

• A shared service agreement with UVCC for food service supervisor Jennifer Garland.

The next regular board meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Aug. 22 at the board offices at 215 Looney Road.

Four-point mastery scale to be implemented for grades K-6

By Aimee Hancock

Reach the writer at ahancock@aimmediamidwest.com.

Reach the writer at ahancock@aimmediamidwest.com.