Due to needing additional time to develop assessments and rubrics to correspond to the essential standards, the St. Croix Central School District is pushing back the deadline for rolling out the district's new Standards Based Assessment and Reporting system at the middle school. The announcement was made at the district's board learning and special meeting on Monday, Jan. 8.
After conducting a survey of staff at the middle school in November, the school's admin team found that most of the staff scored the process as a "three" or "average."
"We don't want to be average. We want that number to be a four or five," said middle school principal Pete Nusbaum. "We want our staff to feel good in regards to where we are at before we roll out anything. We decided that we needed to go back and refine things a little bit more."
The middle school was scheduled to roll out the new system next fall, while the high school was scheduled to implement the system at the start of the 2019-2020 school year. According to the district's administration team, there is not a new deadline for rolling out the system at the middle school, just the commitment to keep moving forward until the new system is ready.
"There is no start and stop with this process. Everything is happening naturally as we'll investigate every possible angle in this process," Nusbaum said. "We are pushing things back and changing the roll out date because we need to continue to vet the new system because it isn't where we wanted it to be at this point in order to feel like we were ready to start using it next fall."
Currently, according to district administrator Tim Widiker, the district has made it through the first three steps of implementing the new grading and reporting system, which includes: outlining the essential standards, creating rubrics based on Bloom's Taxonomy and Webb's Depth of Knowledge and creating leveled assessments. However, the district is not ready to move forward with the final two pieces of the new system: internal tracking and external reporting.
"We feel comfortable with the first few pieces of the process, but it is the reporting piece specifically that is causing the most consternation for us," Widiker said. "There isn't really a timeline for when we will roll things out. Roll out will happen organically once everything is in place and we have things where we want them.
"We are planning another community discussion and information event to present where we are now and then get feedback on that. We will probably hold that some time in March."
One of the more difficult parts of setting up the new grading and reporting system at the high school, according to director of teaching and learning Glenn Webb, is figuring out a way to still give students all of the different assessment pieces that colleges use for acceptance as well as what most scholarships look at when awarding funds to students.
"We have done the research and know what it is we want to have in this new system and what we want it to encompass while allowing us to still give grades and have GPAs," Webb. "Our reporting process needs to look the same and we are working on how to translate the standards and the new grading system to those to grades, GPA and class rank so students don't have problems with applying for colleges or scholarships."
Although the middle school deadline for rolling out the new system has been pushed back, the change at the middle school won't affect the high school's roll out deadline.
"However, we won't push anything out on either level until we are ready and we can make sure we are honoring all of the promises we made to our staff, students and parents," Webb said. "In the meantime, we will continue to teach the process inside the school and continue to evolve and improve the process as need be. Students will get a great education in the meantime, while we continue to work on the new system."
Anyone with comments, concerns or questions about Standards Based Assessment and Reporting can contact any member of the district's administration team or contact Webb directly at 715-796-4500 or firstname.lastname@example.org.