Messages from the Principal
January 7, 2020
PBL Articles & Update #5
I hope you all enjoyed a restful December break and are ready to embark on the last half of the school year – amazing how quickly it is going!
For this edition of PBL Updates, I’d like to briefly discuss the question of differentiating achievement levels between and among students. Attached is an article from the Shelburne News about PBL. In it, the author Jeff Evans, the Central Vermont School District’s Director of Learning and Innovation, describes the intent of proficiency-based learning to support all students’ efforts to attain proficiency. This is a bit of a change for folks who are accustomed to measuring achievement in relation to other students. In other words, instead of asking ‘How is my student doing compared to other students in the class?’, the question might be ‘How is my student doing in relation to the standards and learning targets for the course?’.
Proficiency-Based Learning seeks to ensure that every child in every school is provided with the time and support to achieve proficiency, thereby ensuring that each is prepared for post-secondary college and career opportunities. We are well on our way to realizing this goal, and will be continuing to devote time throughout the year to support teachers and students to implement the system.
As always, we thank you for your support, and encourage you to contact us with any questions,
October 25th, 2019
Dear Falcon Families,
This letter is to update you on North Country’s transition to Proficiency-Based Learning (PBL), specifically the grading aspect of PBL. I hope you have had an opportunity to review the grading guide that was sent home during the first week in October. If not, it can be found on the school’s website. This guide explains many aspects of grading system and how to monitor your student’s progress and I encourage you to use it as a resource.
The next step in our process is to develop a Conversion Scale that translates the proficiency score to a letter grade that will be used for transcripts and GPA calculations. We recognize that in a true proficiency-based system, letter grades would no longer be utilized. However, we also understand that there are many factors that schools and families are balancing in college and career preparation that makes the use of letter grades and GPA useful and necessary. The conversion scale is included on the back of this letter. Please take some time to review it and let us know if you have any questions.
On Monday, October 28th, the conversion scale will be in place and grades will be available for view in Powerschool. We are aware that there will be questions and concerns, and we welcome your feedback to ensure that students’ grades accurately reflect their levels of mastery of the content. Please keep in mind that while grades will be shown as Quarter 1, Quarter 2, etc, grades are not recorded as ‘final’ until the end of the 1st and 2nd Semesters. Your student will receive a first quarter progress report during the week of November 4th that shows his or her grades at that point in time. Donna Blais will send an announcement that progress reports are available at that time. Students will have the remainder of the 2nd Quarter (until January 16th) to improve their grades before grades become final for the semester.
We thank you for your patience, and welcome your feedback. If you notice discrepancies or have questions and concerns regarding your student’s grades please contact your student’s guidance counselor.