Grading proposals and logo approved

CUTLINE: The North Fayette Board of Directors on Monday approved the winning North Fayette Valley logo design submitted by 1985 North Fayette graduate Bill Bollman.


Grading proposals and logo approved

By Mike Van Sickle
Union editor


While approving the 2013-2014 JK-12 Faculty Handbook on Monday, North Fayette’s Board of Directors received an education in proposed grading changes at both North Fayette and Valley.

In an effort to move toward a standard-based grading system, the NFV faculty members have been (will be) recommended to implement grading practices such as the following:

• A grading system with a minimum 50 percent weight on summarative assessments. Grade-level teachers should have the same grade scales and criteria.

• Eliminate extra-credit.

• Incomplete summarative assessments are considered an F after due dates.

• Retakes and redos are available at teacher discretion within two weeks. Retakes and redos are required for D’s and F’s.

• Before a retake/redo can be taken, all formative work must be completed. Additional instruction/support must also take place.

• Retakes should not be the same assessment and can be a different form of assessment.

“So a student who gets an F on a test could get a 100 percent after a retake?” asked Tope.

“They could., they could,” replied high school Principal Todd Wolverton.

Superintendent Duane Willhite noted that the option of giving zeroes for not doing work should not exist. Rather, the work should be considered incomplete until the student does the work.

“Zeroes are one of the biggest problems; it gives a student permission to not do the assigned work. Rather than motivating them to get it done, it gives them permission to fail because too many zeroes make it impossible to pass no matter how hard they try or what they have learned,” said Willhite. “With this system, grading of homework will be greatly reduced, if not eliminated, because most homework is an exercise in practice.”

“Education is changing,” elementary Principal Kathy Bauer later added. “Education leaders are looking at skills and concepts, rather than worksheets.”

School board members and administrators agreed that there will be initial concerns of parents who have students who do well in daily studies, but struggle with final tests.

Willhite acknowledged that the North Fayette Valley whole-grade sharing agreement provides a transition period for the grading recommendations, but school officials intend to fully implement it in the future. 

KKCC agreement approved

Hearing no comments from the general public for or against the proposal, the school board approved the gift agreement for transferring the former West Union Swimming Pool property to Kaleidoscope Kids Childcare Center (KKCC).

The agreement includes restrictions required of the new landowners, so as to protect the future interests of the school district.

  Among the requirements of KKCC upon the construction of its proposed childcare center are granting a parking easement to the school district; agreeing to cooperatively offer a statewide voluntary preschool program for 4-year-old children in the facility; the building plan and any future building expansion has to be approved by the North Fayette Board of Directors; North Fayette is offered first right of refusal for the purchase of the property if KKCC wishes to sell the property.

Prior to approving the agreement, school board members voiced their concern about an amended provision that stated if KKCC “accepts the available loan for up to $250,000 from USDA, the Grantor (NF) agrees to waive these restrictions for the duration of the term of the loan. When the loan is retired and the USDA no longer has a collateral interest in the property, the special provisions shall be in effect.”

After being informed that the amendment was required due to USDA regulations, Tope sought assurance that the requirements, especially the formation of a 4-Year-Old Preschool program, would be carried forth even if the USDA loan would be accepted.

Willhite reported that it was his understanding from discussions with the school district’s attorney(s) that, if agreed upon by both parties, minor changes could be made to the amendment.

TigerHawk logo

Earlier, the school board approved the new NFV TigerHawks logo. The winning design (pictured on front page) was created by Bill Bollman, a 1985 North High graduate. Additional finalists were designs submitted by Kerm Solheim and Krista Ward.

Willhite explained that the NFV Activities Ad Hoc Committee agreed to have a student committee choose the final three designs. Willhite said he had verbal discussions with Valley board members, and they also indicated their support of the student’s recommendation.

Upon the winning artist’s consent, NFV will seek to brand the logo.

In other business, the school board:

• Approved a bus driver contract with Ron Schute; a volunteer drumline instructor contract with Paul Amundson; and a volunteer football coaching contract with Howard Simpson.

• Accepted a resignation from Julianne Meyer, assistant musical director.

• Approved Northeast Iowa Community College agreements for the Iowa Auto Consortium, Northeast Iowa Health Occupations Consortium, and accessibility to college classes.

• Was informed of security system upgrades at the high school and elementary buildings. 

• Was informed the ICN cable on the former middle school property has to be moved for future construction project(s). Cost was estimated at approximately $5,000.


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