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Warren: State adjusting new Regents grading

WATKINS GLEN—Watkins Glen High School Principal Dave Warren reviewed the new Regents grading system at the Monday, March 4, school board meeting, saying he is now “comfortable” with the process.
Warren responded to the Feb. 4 meeting, where teachers spoke out against the recently implemented regional grading. Regents tests from January were graded by teachers from other districts in day-long sessions that the Watkins teachers described as unorganized. One of the concerns expressed with the English exams was the grading of essays.
Warren said some essays were given scores lower than what the Watkins teachers believed they deserved. He explained the new grading system lets teachers challenge Regents scores and have a new person grade the essays. He added the school had BOCES appoint an individual scorer to review the 29 Watkins essays offering another opinion on the grades. Warren said overall the challenged essays received better grades based on the system.
“I’m fairly comfortable with the system’s checks and balances,” said Warren.
Addressing the other concern about the unorganized nature of the regional grading sites, Warren said the state indicates this system will continue to be used. He added this was the first time Regents exams were graded this way and changes have already been made. Warren added some regions for grading will be broken down into smaller groups of schools, including the GST BOCES area.
In other business:
• Board President Brian O’Donnell responded to last week’s education forum, Feb. 27, facilitated by the Schuyler County League of Women Voters. He said some people who spoke at the forum were outright in support of merging the Watkins and Odessa-Montour districts, while others urged the schools look into all information. O’Donnell added the follow-up will include more sessions to gather input and comments. Phillips said Watkins hopes to work with Odessa to get that more in-depth information. He suggested the two districts do a professional feasibility study before making any decisions.
• The board recognized the Watkins Glen girls varsity bowling team for the winter season. Phillips said they were Section IV Class C and Interscholastic Athletic Conference champions, while Katrina Swarthout also won individually as a Sectional champion. Coach Ward Brower added they ended the regular season with a 47-8 record.
• The board accepted the resignations of social studies teacher Craig Cheplick and Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds Mike DeNardo.
• Karlene Andrews, speech pathologist, was approved for tenure.
• The board approved creation of a lacrosse program.
• The first reading of the parental involvement policy and an update to the wellness plan and procedures were approved. Phillips explained this is to make the district eligible for a Carol White Grant.
• The board approved a contract for Watkins Glen students to attend non-public school in the Elmira City School District.
The next Watkins Glen school board meeting is Monday, March 18. It is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. after a 5:45 p.m. executive session.





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