School board addresses remainder of school year amid COVID 19 situation
April 22, 2020
During their regular meeting held on Wednesday, April 15, the Cashton School Board approved a resolution detailing the district’s application to the Department of Public Instruction for a waiver of the requirements of Wisconsin Statute 121.02 (1)(f) regarding required instructional hours for students during the 2019-2020 school year due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
A public hearing was held on the matter during the board meeting, but there was no public attendance (the meeting agenda did note that anyone wishing to attend the meeting virtually could make arrangements ahead of time with district administrator, Ryan Alderson).
The board also reviewed the plan for grading and graduation requirements for the rest of the school year.
High school and middle school students will have until April 30 to make up any work from Feb. 25 (mid-third quarter) through March 17 (last face-to-face instruction day) for grade reconsideration, as third quarter grades (based through the date above) will become the second semester grades and student GPA and class rank will be frozen as they stand at the end of the third quarter.
Work assigned and submitted from March 18 through April 30 will be recorded in the third quarter as zero percent and will not impact third quarter GPA.
The fourth quarter of school will run from May 4 through June 2 and while teachers will continue to provide feedback and monitor students to the extent that is possible during this time, grades for the fourth quarter will be defined as follows:
for grades 4K-8: NA (Not Available) will be used for all fourth quarter areas as not available due to the building closure.
For high school: A Pass / NA grading system will be used.
It was noted that a Pass/NA grading model preserves credit attainment for students and makes adjustments to graduation requirements unnecessary, and that in a distance learning setting, the determination of a Pass/NA standard of grading can be made more effectively. Final grades will be determined by the average of first, second, and third quarter grades and final exams will not be held. Graduation requirements, credits awarded and promotion / retention will be based on final grades as described above.
The last day of face-to-face instruction between students and teachers was March 17, but since that time staff have been working on a variety of ways to utilize online and digital learning opportunities and ways to connect with their students and colleagues during the school building closure.
In other news, the board approved a six-year agreement with NEOLA for policy support services that will include: a complete review of current policies, modifications (additions & deletions as needed), online publishing of the policies on the district’s website and twice-a-year updates in order to stay current.
This service will cost a total of $15,150 to be paid over a three-year schedule.
NEOLA provides on-site drafting during the review process as well as access to almost 400 legally vetted policy templates with every policy, administrative guideline and form template being legally vetted by Wisconsin legal firms.
The board will still review and approve the changes to policies, but this partnership will allow for the reprioritization of time currently spent by administrative staff on researching, writing, and updating policies on an individual basis.
NEOLA is a cooperative policy development that represents over 1,500 school districts in seven states and 270 districts in Wisconsin. Some area districts that are currently served by NEOLA include Westby, Tomah, Viroqua, Bangor, Onalaska and La Crosse.