SSD Board Brief - December 4, 2017

At a well-attended Stowe School Board meeting, Superintendent Tracy Wrend gave a detailed update regarding implementation of proficiency-based learning. Superintendent Wrend explained that the implementation is iterative, and therefore we are learning how to improve it as we work through this year of grading implementation. Feedback from all stakeholder groups is essential to this process. Feedback from parents has shown concern in three general categories: college acceptance with a proficiency-based transcript, grading and feedback, and the process of implementation.

While college admissions officers have made it clear that they welcome applicants with proficiency-based transcripts, they also underscored the importance of a clear school profile to accompany all applications. School profiles have always been critical in college admissions, as high schools and grading scales vary widely. Stowe High School will be taking great care to craft a strong school profile to accompany our proficiency-based transcripts.

Parents are encouraged to aid the implementation process in a number of ways. Parents can engage their children as learners. Please ask, “How can I better understand,” “What can I expect,” and “What can I contribute,” as your children bring home schoolwork or mastery reports. The more parents embrace and work to understand the new system, the easier the transition will be for students.

Parents are encouraged to approach administrators with specific implementation issues, including inconsistencies or questions about standards. Teachers can use this feedback to improve their process. The Stowe School Board, while grateful to the parents who came and provided insight on December 4, asks parents to bring their concerns to the building level, so that the professional educators can devise effective solutions.

On December 14, there will be a meeting at 6:30 PM in the high school. This meeting will explain our work in proficiency-based learning at the classroom level, on mastery reports, and on transcripts. Parents are encouraged to attend alongside their students.

The Stowe School Board will bring the question of community use of school facilities to Town Meeting in March. Because any partial-use policy has the potential to create gray areas, the board is going to present two options at Town Meeting: allow the community to use school buildings or restrict the use of school buildings to school and municipal activities only. Community members are encouraged to attend Town Meeting and engage in this discussion.

The Stowe School Board will hold budget meetings on January 8, 15, and 22 at 6:00 PM in the Music Room of Stowe Elementary School.

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