April 8, 2015
Buzz-in doors being installed; Standards based report cards for 1st graders
by James Ellis
LOUISA – Technicians are hard at work installing buzz-in only entrance systems and accompanying camera equipment as part of a safety upgrade for Lawrence County Schools.
Fallsburg Elementary, Louisa Middle School, and Louisa West Elementary are the most recent recipients of the equipment, which will help prevent unauthorized entry into schools and give front office personnel a clear view of who is coming and going – all a part of an effort to enhance the safety of the students and staff.
Lawrence County Schools Superintendent Dr. Robbie Fletcher noted that not only is it just a logical step in enhancement of student and staff safety, it was a response to concern from the community.
”Our community has indicated on several occasions that we need a buzz-in system at our schools to add another layer of safety for our students,” he stated.
But something as substantial as building work to make a school more secure and safe doesn’t happen without coordination and collaboration.
“ The Lawrence County Board of Education members listened and approved the project. Behind the scenes, Ms. Edris Humphrey worked many hours on the proper state-required forms and on the funding source for the project. Mr. Vernon Hall and Mr. Gary Colvin coordinated the installation efforts. In short, this was a team effort among our board members and central office staff to make this project a reality,” said Dr. Fletcher.
Work should be completed shortly at Louisa East and Blaine schools. Lawrence County High School has had a buzz in security system since the building renovation several years ago, but even that system is being removed and replaced with one that will keep persons outside the main entrance and visible with a camera before they are allowed to enter the building.
STANDARDS BASED REPORT CARDS FOR FIRST GRADE
LOUISA — If the report card your Lawrence County kindergarten student brings home is a little bit different than when you were in school, don’t be alarmed.
This is part of an effort to reflect the skills your child actually possesses in relationship to the standard skills a kindergartener needs to know across the Commonwealth of Kentucky. It is designed to give you a clearer picture of the skills your child has actually learned.
It is called a “standards-based report card.”
“This type of report card is helpful because the report card is written in parent friendly language and it gives a clear picture of what the student needs to work on,” said Louisa West Elementary School Principal Debbie Delong.
During the 2015-2016 school-year first graders will also be receiving standards-based report cards. The central reason for converting to this type of reporting system is that it shows where the student actually stands in terms of mastery of skills.
Lawrence County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Robbie Fletcher, a parent of Lawrence County students himself, sees it as a way to see more of what the child is actually expected to know.
“Every parent wants to know what is expected their kids in the classroom. Student and parent understanding of learning expectations is the main goal of standards-based grading,” he said.
So, Lawrence County staff went to work to try and revamp the reporting system to reflect these expectations.
“Nearly a year ago, our kindergarten teachers, our district resource teachers (Ms. Vicki Bradley, Ms. Lana Prichard, Ms. Dina Chaffin, and Ms. Betty Mullins), as well as Mrs. Cassandra Webb, developed a kindergarten standards-based report card. Now our first grade teachers are collaborating with our kindergarten teachers to make this a reality for the 2015-2016 first grade students.”
Naturally, the goal is to have all students’ report cards reflect their actual level of skill attainment. In that spirit, high school students representing their peers on the Consolidated District Improvement Plan Committee jumped on board.
“As part of the consolidated district improvement planning process, the Lawrence County High School class officers made the recommendation that we expand the use of standards-based grading in our district. These students provided a solid explanation of the benefits that they have seen with SBG in their math classes. We have honored their request and are very excited about the role they have taken in improving our district,” said Dr. Fletcher.
Fallsburg Principal Angela Holmes sees it as a plus for all stakeholders.
“I believe that transitioning towards SBG is a win-win for everyone. Parents and students will have more detailed information about how a student is achieving towards specific standards. Instead of just the traditional letter grade, SBG details areas of strengths and weaknesses, giving parents and students direction toward areas that need more practice or instruction,” she said.
Concerns about traditional letter grades and grade-point averages were alleviated by the conversion of the SBG system into letter grades in the high school math classes so that it met with college standards and not to interfere with students’ preparation for transition to the next level.