Archive for Thursday, May 15, 2008

School board discusses honors banquet again

May 15, 2008

With the end of the school year approaching at Baldwin High School, changes to the school's handbook once again came before the Baldwin School Board.

This year, much of the discussion regarding changes to the handbook revolved around two issues: the annual honors banquet and meeting times for clubs.

For the past two years, the annual honors banquet has been open to students who received a grade point average of 3.0 or higher. Before that, only students who achieved a grade point average of 3.5 or higher had been allowed to come to the banquet.

There are three different honor rolls at Baldwin High: the first goes to students who receive between a 3.0 and 3.5, the second goes to student who receive a 3.5 or higher but don't get straight As, and the final honor roll is for students who receive a 4.0. Students on the last two lists get an academic letter, while students on the first list get a certificate.

Some discussion revolved around changing the requirements for banquet invitations back to the original GPA of 3.5.

"Having an honor roll for a 3.0 is becoming increasingly questionable with grade inflation," said Board Member Bill Busby.

Busby said that the average GPA at Baldwin High was around 3.0, which made naming students with 3.0 averages as honors students questionable.

Board Member Ruth Barkley agreed with Busby's concerns about grade inflation, also adding that the way GPAs are calculated could paint a misleading picture about a student's true scholastic achievements.

But other board members noted that allowing students with GPAs between 3.0 and 3.5 to attend the event would give those students inspiration to increase their efforts and their GPAs.

In the end, the board decided to leave the qualifications for attending the banquet as they currently stand, with students having a 3.0 or higher allowed to attend. However, they decided to rename the event as an academic banquet instead of an honors banquet.

In addition to discussing the banquet, discussion also centered on meeting times for clubs. The proposed alterations for the handbook had clubs meeting before or after school. The current handbook allows clubs to meet during the school day during seminar hour.

Kansas Association of School Board attorneys had recommended that the school board move club meetings to be either before or after the school day. Only clubs that were curriculum-based would be allowed to continue meeting during the school day.

But the board eventually decided to continue having clubs meet during seminar, although they left open the possibility of reexamining the decision if needed.

At the end of the meeting the school board approved the personnel report. It included the resignations of Juli O'Mealey-Hossain (Baldwin High School vocal music instructor), Jim Oatman (BHS industrial arts instructor), Jana Jorn (BHS librarian, Scholars' Bowl coach and musical accompanist), Julie Henry (family and consumer science instructor), Danielle King (BHS cheerleader sponsor) and Diana Johnson (transportation driver).

The new hires included Kim Heckathorne (.5 Baldwin Elementary School Intermediate Center physical education instructor), Erik Bailey (BESIC fifth grade instructor), Paige Roper (district office summer help), Holly Gaylord (.6 Baldwin Elementary School Primary Center physical education instructor), Jill Cannon (.65 Marion Springs Elementary School/Vinland Elementary School physical education instructor) and Sarah Harris (Kindergarten instructor).

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Last month's personnel report included the resignations of Brock Hartshorn (BHS assistant wrestling coach), Ginny Meinen (Transportation driver), Dennis Hollinger (Baldwin Junior High School science instructor), Jo Doerr (MSES 4-year-old at-risk instructor), Linda Russell (Transportation director) and Angela Lewis (Parents as Teachers educator).

The hires last month included Matt McCune (BHS head soccer coach), Richard Schian (Transportation driver), Brooks Heath (BHS science instructor) and Michel Bonham (BESIC and BESPC social worker).

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