Grading scale is changed
After board discussion and considerable public input the school board decided to change the grading scale at their October meeting Monday, Oct. 18.
For many years the district policy on the grading scale was that 94-100 was an A, 85-93 a B and on down the line. Apparently many teachers had been using their own grading scales with most tending toward a 90-100 for an A 80-89 for a B, 70-79 for a C and 60-69 for a D. When the district adopted the Idaho Student Information Management System (ISIMS) the districtís grading scale was locked in and things changed for a lot of classrooms leading many to the misconception that the board had changed the scale.
Travis Mader had done some calling to random schools around the state and all the schools in the local area and found everyone using the 90-100 scale with only 1 minor exception. That exception was Lapwai who used 89-100 for an A.
Mader pointed out that the stricter scale can cost students scholarships. He also pointed out that most car insurance companies offer good student discounts of up to $250 per year for 3.0 average and up. He also pointed out that Prairie has students taking an Internet health class and students from other schools receive an A for a 92 score while Prairie students receive a B for the same score in the same class.
Mader also polled the teachers and found that 18 of 22 in the Middle and High Schools favored a change. 2 didnít care and 2 wanted to leave it as it is.
Emmett Wilson offered the opposing viewpoint that in his experience in education at NICI that giving his students higher standards to reach makes them strive for those higher standards.
Board member Roy Schumacher commented that he doesnít mind the 90-100 for an A and 80-89 for a B but he has trouble with a 60 being a  passing grade. Brit Groom commented that heís more worried about those students that do their best to achieve a 70-75 grade and just receive a D for it. He feels those at the upper end are going to strive for the A whatever the scale is but those that struggle shouldnít be forgotten.
Board chairman John Nida commented he doesnít feel this is lowering our standards, itís just bringing us in line with state standards.
Self-esteem issues were also brought up by those in attendance which included many students and parents.
After the discussion was done Kelli Bruner made a motion to change the grading scale. Groom seconded it and the motion carried unanimously.
The new grading scale will take effect immediately and should be reflected in the first quarter grades. The first quarter ends Oct. 29.
In another item carried over from last monthís meeting, Scott and Audrey Wasem have obtained permission from the Grangeville school district to allow a Prairie bus to come into the Grangeville district to pick up their child, who is currently attending Prairie. Grangeville had some changes they wanted to see in the agreement and wanted to make a one-year-at-a-time and case-by-case thing. Superintendent Stan Kress along with Dave Snodgrass and Dave Remacle were directed by the board to work out the details for the best possible solution for all concerned.
Kress reported that the other family making a busing request at the last meeting probably wonít get permission from the district they reside in, which is the Nezperce district.
The auditorís report was presented to the board by Mitchell Marx of Presnell & Gage and was approved. Marx stated he found nothing out of line that needed to be brought to the boardís attention.
A picture of the board was taken that will be posted to the districtís website with contact email addresses for the board members.
Board chairman Nida presented a short extra-curricular policy to the board that he would like to have them review for the next meeting.
There were no bids received for the driverís education car so the board directed Kress to dispose of it as best he could.
The board adjourned to an executive session at 9:30 p.m.
The next regular meeting of the board will be Monday, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m.

Free/Reduced price lunches help school
It was reported at the school board meeting Monday, Oct. 18, that the school district received a 77% reimbursement rate for the telephone and Internet service for the 2003-04 school year.
The bills for internet service from AT&T and telephone service from Qwest and Excel totaled $23,707.66 for the 2003-04 school year but due to the Erate reimbursement the net cost to the district was just $5,815.23, a savings of $17,892.43.
The reimbursement rate is directly connected to the amount of free and reduced rate school lunches the schools qualify for. The more students that qualify for free or reduced price lunches, the higher the reimbursement. The money the district receives from the federal government for the free and reduced price lunches also helps to keep the lunch costs down for those that pay full price. Contact the school district office to see if you qualify.

Cottonwood, Idaho 83522

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COTTONWOOD
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