Marietta Schools rejects standards-based report card proposal
by Jon Gillooly
jgillooly@mdjonline.com
May 06, 2011 06:56 PM | 5204 views | 13 13 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — Marietta school board members object to a clause in a vision statement authored by the Georgia School Boards Association and Georgia Superintendents Association that endorses not assigning letter grades to students in kindergarten through third grade.

During Friday’s board meeting, the board also set a May 19 date for a public forum on the topic of building an auditorium at Marietta High School and made a number of high-level personnel changes.

Board Chairwoman Irene Berens said the GSBA and GSA are asking school boards across the state to adopt a vision statement that includes such guidelines as electing board members in a nonpartisan election and adopting a “K-3 non-graded integrated education model,” also known as standards-based grading.

Berens said the GSBA and GSA came up with the vision in response to criticism from Georgia legislators who accuse the groups of constantly opposing lawmakers’ proposals for education.

“So they wanted to come forward with something everyone could get behind,” Berens said.

Marietta school board members said they support most of the points in the vision statement, such as having nonpartisan elections.

“I don’t think you need a partisan school board,” Berens said. “I think you have enough issues without bringing in Republican and Democrat issues. In the 10 years I’ve served, I can see a difference in the fact that we don’t have those issues.”

Elections for Marietta school board members are nonpartisan, unlike those for the Cobb school board.

Board member Jill Mutimer said Marietta parents want their children to receive letter grades.

“It’s more tangible,” she said.

Marietta assigns letter grades to students in all grades except kindergarten, where the student receives a “satisfactory,” “needs improvement” or “unsatisfactory” rating, said Dr. Debra Pickett, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.

Board member Randy Weiner said parents want letter grades in addition to the “standards-based” progress reports.

“Parents should have an overall score per subject in addition to a list of standards students have to achieve, not in place of them,” Weiner said. “They expect a letter grade because that will give you the overall accomplishment for the subject.”

Berens asked Superintendent Dr. Emily Lembeck to write a resolution adopting the vision statement with the caveat that it is not endorsing the clause eliminating grading in K-3 grades for the board’s Tuesday meeting.

In 2009, the Cobb school board, despite public objection, approved the implementation of 3-2-1 standards-based report cards. The Cobb district already used standards-based report cards in kindergarten through second grade. That means it uses numbers in place of traditional letter grades: "1" means the student does not meet standards; "2" indicates progress toward standards; and "3" indicates standards are met.

In other business, the board set a date of May 19 at a yet to be determined time and location for a public forum on whether they should move forward with building a 900-seat theater at Marietta High School. Marietta High is the only high school in Cobb without a theater, Berens said.

A concrete slab was poured for a theater when the school was being built in 2000, but the project was killed when the cost of the new school ran $20 million over budget, Weiner said.

Danny Smith, director of maintenance and support, estimates the theater would cost $8.6 million.

The board also promoted Marietta Sixth Grade Academy Principal Dayton Hibbs to assistant superintendent for operations, technology and assessment effective June 1, replacing Preston Howard, who is retiring. Hibbs salary will be raised from $85,102 to $93,031.

In addition, the board hired Cindy Culver, who currently works as a nutrition supervisor for the Cobb School District, as its new director of food service at a salary of $82,879. Culver replaces Sandy Laffan, who is retiring.

The board also accepted the resignation of West Side Elementary School Principal Jennifer Lawson. Mutimer said Lawson has served as principal for three years, and was leaving to accept a job at an unknown location.

Comments
(13)
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M City resident
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May 11, 2011
Keep up the good work Marietta School Board. I applauded your decision to move to a charter school system in 2008. I also applaud your ability to listen to the community and stay out of the mediocrity downtown.
Tom Keller
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May 09, 2011
What happened to your campaign promises CCSD reformers? You were supposed to do away with standard based report cards too!

Guess you only have to keep promises to those that gave money to get you in office - the calendar people!
anonymous
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May 08, 2011
Anyone who finds it shocking that Dayton Hibbs got a promotion in MCS doesn't know Mr. Hibbs at all. Any any MSGA teacher- they will tell you how great he is!
concerned educator
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May 08, 2011
I find it shocking that Dayton Hibbs will be getting Preston Howard's job as assistant superintendent! I guess Dayton didn't even have to interview. What magic has Hibbs worked on the MCS school board and Dr. Lembeck??? MCS has so many other principals and assistant principals who are far more qualified than Hibbs, but they seem to be stuck in neutral. Shame on the MCS school board for not even posting and interviewing candidates for that position!!
REALLY-
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May 08, 2011
Home Field Advantage?! How many games did they win at home last year? ZERO! The last time they won a home game, Coach "Friday" was still coaching.
REALLY-
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May 07, 2011
HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE! How many did they win at home last season?! ZERO!!! They haven't won a home game since Coach "Friday" was the coach!
@that's not all...
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May 07, 2011
Northcutt stadium is the greatest home field advantage in the state.
That's not all -
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May 07, 2011
Hey Berens, why don't you mention we will also be the only school in Cobb County without Field Turf when the school year starts next year? It's bad enough our football team has to travel for road & HOME games. Yes, we're the only school in Cobb County that does that also! I don't hear anybody talking about building a stadium at the High School! For $8.6 million we could build a nice one and it would sure outdraw ANYTHING you could put on in that auditorium.
Love MCS
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May 07, 2011
I LOVE the decisions that the Marietta City Schools are making or recent. Wish I lived in their district. Sounds like they are putting their students' best interest first. Keep up the good work, MCS. There will probably be flight to your school district from the CCSD...
Veteran Observer
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May 07, 2011
Theater at the high school was not part of original funding because Councilman Goldstein blocked an agreement on the table to use the city's rental car tax to fund it! His argument was that it was too far from downtown Marietta to benefit the arts community. So the county and chamber quickly moved in and got the council to agree to give it to them for the performing arts center at Cumberland which doesn't benefit the Marietta arts community at all!
Check Your Facts
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May 07, 2011
Hibbs is the principal of MSGA. Or did they move Karen Smits, who is the principal of MCAA?

And, true to form, MSGA can't keep a principal longer than 3 years.
West Cobb Parent
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May 06, 2011
It's nice to know that the Marietta school board is doing the right thing! I sure wish the Cobb board had - but instead we have nothing but trouble thanks to the previous board and a few current members.

Marietta, keep up the good work and your students and employees will continue to excel.
anonymous
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May 06, 2011
I am going to miss Jennifer Lawson.
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