What a beautiful fall season we are experiencing. By the time you are reading this, we will know if we officially had the warmest October on record. The five inches of rain we received over the last two days will help replenish our reservoirs and wells.
Congratulations go out to Maria Morris and the JMG students for being selected as the 2017 Bath Citizen Involvement Day Youth Award recipients. The students in our JMG program were chosen for all of their community service efforts in Bath.
Congratulations also go out to twenty-five Morse students who have earned AP Scholar Awards in recognition of their exceptional achievement on their Advanced Placement exams in May. The College Board recognizes several levels of achievement based on students’ performance on AP exams. Five students qualified for the AP Scholar with Distinction Award by earning an average score of at least 3.5 on all AP exams taken. Seven students qualified for the AP Scholar with Honor Award by earning an average score of at least 3.25 on all AP exams taken. Thirteen students qualified for the AP Scholar Award by completing three or more exams with a score of 3 or higher.
We are continuing to make some good progress with our proficiency-based education goals this year. Many department members spent several days over the summer, working on units and assessments. We also devoted the entire professional development day on October 6th to this work. We are keeping a watchful eye on the changes that we made with our grading practices, two in particular. The first is the change with our retake policy. Last year, which was a pilot year, students were allowed to retake an exam regardless of their score. Retake requests quickly got out of hand and were being made for the wrong reasons, boosting grade point averages instead of demonstrating proficiency, for example. This year, retakes are allowed for any grade on a summative assessment that is less than a 70 and, a 70 is the highest score that a retake can result in. The second change involves what actually makes up a grade in a class. Assessments have two categories, formative and summative. Departments were asked to decide, as a whole, what percent of an overall grade should be formative and what percent should be summative. Many chose 25% formative, (quizzes, classwork, smaller projects, papers, etc.), and 75% summative, (end of unit exams, large projects, papers, etc.). The English department chose 40%/60% because, as a whole, it seemed to be a better fit for them. We are already seeing some unintended consequences, especially if 75% of a quarter grade is from one large project or exam. Teachers are already finding ways to incorporate more summative types of assessments into their practice as a result of this. Other departments are already re-thinking their 25%/75% decisions. All of this is a work in progress and I am sure that changes will continue to be made.
Last week was the end of the regular fall sports season. Our field hockey, girls’ soccer, and football teams all qualified for the playoffs. Our cross-country team competed at the Regional level and the girls’ team qualified for States. Two boys are also competing at the State level. Congratulations to all of our athletes and their dedicated coaches.
Life continues to be good at 826. I wish you all a happy and healthy Thanksgiving and Holiday season.
John B. Pinkerton
Morse High School