Cass County Democrat Missourian

Pleasant Hill introduces new grading system

This graphic shows how the new Standards Based Reporting would be applied if the objective is for the student to learn to ride a bicycle.
This graphic shows how the new Standards Based Reporting would be applied if the objective is for the student to learn to ride a bicycle.

New grading system for Pleasant Hill schools

In two critical subject areas, the traditional grades of A, B, C and D have gone away for the younger students in the Pleasant Hill School District.

Instead, once the first quarter ends on Oct. 16, children and parents will see grade cards that judge students on what they know and can do, rather than all the work they’ve done in class and at home.

The Standards Based Reporting is being used in kindergarten through sixth grade for math and English language arts instruction. A grading system of 1 through 4 reflects how well students have mastered specific objectives set for each grade level.

The district wants all students to achieve scores of at least 3 by the end of each school year, meaning they are proficient in all standards and performing at grade level. Here’s a rundown of the new scoring system:

The lowest grade, a 1, indicates that the student “does not yet meet expectations,” having achieved at most a partial understanding of what is being taught.

A score of 2, or “approaching expectations,” is given when the child has mastered the vocabulary and basics of a standard but isn’t consistent yet in all the concepts, skills or processes involved.

A 3 indicates that a student “consistently meets expectations” for a standard when working independently without help.

A score of 4 signifies that the child consistently “exceeds expectations” by performing above grade level or demonstrating a deeper understanding of the material and the ability to apply it.

“This creates a shift from points earned to skills acquired,” the district said an informational sheet prepared for parents. “The focus will be on student growth based on each standard measured.”

Under the new system, students won’t be able raise their scores through extra credit or retaking tests. Homework will be given so children can practice what they have learned and bring their parents into the endeavor, but poor homework performance will not bring down a student’s score. Nor will zeros be issued.

“Children are expected to complete all assessments and activities required to demonstrate learning,” the district said. “Progress is based on evidence available at the end of each quarter.”

Percentages aren’t part of the program, either. Instead, teachers will judge proficiency in a variety of ways that could include testing, observation and conversations with the student.

“Pure mathematical averages do not accurately report a child’s true level of proficiency with a standard,” the district said. “In fact, percentages can actually penalize a child for what he/she didn’t already know at the start of a unit of study.”

A student who falls short in one quarter could very well be proficient the next time. “Reporting periods do not dictate the end of an opportunity for students to master standards,” the district said. “It is important to remember that children learn at different developmental rates, are impacted by maturation, and should have the opportunity to learn from the mistakes they make.”

Instruction will be given to enable students to move beyond proficiency to level 4.

The district said math and English language arts were chosen because new curricula in those subjects lend themselves to Standards Based Reporting.

Ray-Pec students honored

Two Students of the Month have been chosen for September at Raymore-Peculiar High School. Hudson Bailey and Ella Schnake were honored by the Raymore-Peculiar Sunrise Optimist Club. The district previously announced that Tyler Swift and Marissa Dick were recognized by the Belton-Raymore Rotary Club.

NHS officers chosen in Drexel

Jayklin Smith is this year’s president of the National Honor Society chapter at Drexel High School.

The other officers are Vice President Logan Cochran, Secretary Makenna Willard, Co-Treasurers MaKenna Finley and Mackenzie Winfield and Reporter Andrea Cordell.

Shopping nights for needy families

Two evenings a month, Bright Futures Harrisonville is opening its clothing resource area, Station 42, so families in need of clothing can shop for items. The events will be held from 4:30 to 7 p.m. on the second Wednesday and fourth Tuesday of the month.

Station 42, just south of Memorial Stadium, can be reached by an access road off of Eastwood Road.

Volunteers at the events also will accept donations of boys pants/bottoms in sizes 4 through 10 and girls’ pants/bottoms in sizes 5 through 16, as well as new packages of socks and underwear in all sizes.

Several years ago, the Harrisonville School District launched its #My42 campaign, asking people to give “42” each month to Bright Futures — 42 minutes, items, dollars or something else. The numbers derive from a request to give “4 our children, 2 ensure Bright Futures.”

‘Addams Family’ cast at HHS

Harrisonville High School has chosen the cast and crew for its fall musical, “The Addams Family,” which will be performed Oct. 31 through Nov. 2.

Cast members include Leah Bartlett, Rebekah Bartlett, Melaina Beachner, Raven Bertrand, Kinsley Brannon, Haylee Bruton, Dawson Carr, Cheyenne Cesonis, Maria Cesonis, Micah Cheek, Noah Collins, Piper, Coppedge, Caitlyn Costner, Charlie Crouser, Libby East, Brooklyn Fools, Camille Ginnings, Adalain Howser, Clint Howser, Lucas Johnson, Halle Kenney, Kal Landstrom, Skylar Lite, Jacob Miller, Caroline Ocheskey, Gael Rios, Carolyn Schrock, Michael Schuhler, Virgil Shaddox, Sophia Sparks, Jared Switzer, Vaelen Taylor and Cathy Wade.

Homecoming events raise $7,000

In conjunction with mid-September homecoming festivities, the Harrisonville Public School Foundation raised more than $4,500 at its Alumni and Friends Golf Tournament. Proceeds will be used for programming and scholarships.

In addition, the foundation and the Harrisonville High School Peer Helpers Program raised more than $2,500 at the 12th annual Catch the Spirit 5K Walk/Run. That event benefits the foundation and the Christina Collins Memorial Scholarship, named for a 2006 graduate of Harrisonville High School who died in a car accident in the spring of 2007.