MINOOKA — While the vote fell one short of unanimous, the Minooka Community High School board on Thursday, April 25, approved a change in the district’s grading scale from a straight seven-point to a 10-point scale with a plus/minus scale.
Just how the plus/minus system will be used is to be determined at a later date, Board President Chris Kobe said.
District families, stakeholders, teachers and students all had an opportunity to weigh in on the matter through a district-wide survey.
“I think our public has very much asked for this,” Kobe said following the meeting.
Out of 31 neighboring high school districts, 28 use some form of a 10-point scale, Kobe said. Having a comparative scale helps level the playing field for Minooka High students, especially when it comes to college applications and educational scholarships.
Board member Jim Butterbach had multiple concerns over changing the scale that the high school has used for 25 years. His biggest concern was that students won’t need to work as hard to get a good grade, in effect lowering the district’s standards.
He also said there isn’t any evidence to support the idea that the old scale is disadvantageous when it comes to grade-point average, college admissions or scholarships.
“It’s going to create a lot of problems,” Butterbach said before voting against the proposal.
Kobe later said she does not believe the change will lower standards at all.
“I am confident our teaching staff will continue to assist students with high quality learning and provide them with what they need to have a good life,” she said.
Three Minooka High seniors weighed in on the discussion following the meeting.
Two liked the change while a third said he preferred the old scale, even though the new scale would have bumped him from a 3.6 to a 4.1 GPA during his senior year.
“I like the old scale, it makes you work harder,” Grant Barker said.
Trevor Rogers said the change wouldn’t necessarily affect him, but the old scale is more biased when it comes to the ACT test.
While some students might take advantage of the new scale and not work as hard, it could help others with their self-esteem if they can get a higher grade, Joey Dearduff said.
“An A makes you feel good,” Dearduff said.
NEW BUS PROCEDURE
A few incidents this year with getting South Campus students home after school has prompted the district to create a new procedure for handling delayed buses.
Freshmen and sophomores at South Campus get on their designated bus at dismissal time first. The bus then travels to Central Campus to pick-up juniors and seniors before taking students home.
In the past, if a bus was delayed because of breaking down or traffic, South Campus students got on any available bus and rode it to Central.
“They were being very self-sufficient,” Minooka High Principal Darcie Kubinski said.
The lack of procedure caused concerns for some parents and students, particularly for freshman.
Now, anytime there is an interruption in a bus’ schedule, students and staff at both campuses will be notified of exactly which one of three buses students should take to Central Campus and, if necessary, which bus will take them home.
All staff members, including campus monitors, will know exactly where students should go, Kubinski said.
“All communications will go to all the people on the ground,” Kubinski said.
“The safety of our students is of the utmost concern and we are confident that the improvements made to this plan will assist our students in being able to navigate the changes and get home safely,” Kubinski said in a report.
Plans for summer school at MCHS have been finalized. The board approved the classes and session dates on Thursday, April 25.
Four sessions will be held between May 28 and July 25. All sessions will run for a two-week period, with the exception of math, which runs three weeks.
Placement in courses is determined by the high school staff and occurs on a first-come, first-serve basis as payment is received.
Only students who have failed a course may enroll in summer school. Students also need to be referred by the guidance office and must earn a 70 percent or higher to earn credit.
The program will be run as it has in the past, except it will be back at South Campus, Superintendent Jim Colyott said.
“There are no significant differences,” he said.
Tuition for summer school is $110 per session. Fee waivers do not apply.
Questions can be referred to Bob Williams, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, at 815-521-4118.