SPRING VALLEY – The Hall High School Board discussed changes to the second semester learning format during Wednesday night’s meeting.
For the time being, students will continue remote learning. The current remote learning format is very flexible and allows students to do their work at any time of the day with teachers being available to answer questions as needed during school hours.
When classes resume Jan. 5, Principal Adam Meyer said things will be set up differently in order to provide more structure for students.
“Students will only take four classes for the third nine weeks beginning on Jan. 5,” Meyer said. “The remaining three classes will be completed during the fourth nine weeks and will begin on March 15. Students will complete a normal semester’s work during the nine-week period.”
Meyer said this will allow students to focus on a smaller amount of classes, but the downside is there will be more work to do per class since they have to get a semester’s amount of work done in nine weeks. He also stressed that it will be important for students to get off on the right foot so they don’t get behind since there will not be as much time to get caught up with classes only lasting nine weeks.
Another major change is that students will now be required to meet virtually every day between 7:55 a.m. and 12:10 p.m.
Meyer said, “Students are required to attend class daily using live video. Audio only is not allowed. Teachers will supply students with a link for their class Google Meet. Daily attendance will be taken by teachers on TeacherEase based on the students being online and attending class virtually.”
During the 60-minute class period teachers will teach content, discuss homework and will provide students with extra help if needed.
Students will continue to be allowed to have access to the building in the morning to use WiFi and facilities but teachers will not be available in the mornings for extra help. Teachers will be available from 12:45 to 2:45 p.m. every day to help students in person or via Google Meets.
It was stressed that there are plenty of students that did fine with the flexible schedule, but the administration feels that a more structured schedule is needed to help with when students return to in-person learning.
The board also discussed possible changes to how Hall High School calculates GPA and also to class rankings.
Meyer explained that Hall uses a 5.0 GPA scale and he is proposing moving to a 4.0 scale.
Meyer said, “I don’t know any other school that has a 5.0 scale or even a college. We would still have weighted classes but on a 4.0 scale.”
Several long-time board members tried to remember why it was set up like this but couldn’t remember the details except that it possibly had to do with how honors classes are weighted. The administration will continue to look into this and will bring more information to the board in the future.
Meyers also explained that they are discussing eliminating class ranks and the titles of valedictorian and salutatorian. Students with a certain GPA would be recognized by graduating with summa cum laude honors as is done in most colleges and universities. Meyer said they haven’t discussed how many honor categories there would be.
Many factors affect class rankings both positively and negatively. A class ranking is not always a true picture of a student’s academic ability. Meyer explained that many students know how to manipulate the system to get a higher GPA than someone who is taking harder classes. Students would only be competing against themselves to get summa cum laude honors.
In other news:
• The 2020 tax levy was approved.
• The board approved the renewal of employee health care plans and approved to let bids for transportation of students.
• The first reading of the 2021-22 school calendar was held.
• The 2021-22 curriculum guide was approved and the second semester learning format was approved.
The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 20.