Grad­ing on a new scale

Sev­eral changes un­der­way in­clud­ing new weight room

The Progress-Index Weekend - - COLONIAL HEIGHTS - John Adam Staff Writer •John Adam may be reached at jadam@ progress-in­ or 804-722-5172.

COLO­NIAL HEIGHTS — Stu­dents at Colo­nial Heights schools, most notably Colo­nial Heights High School, will see some big changes when they re­sume classes in Septem­ber.

Most notably, 20172018 will be the last year Colo­nial Heights stu­dents grades 3-12 will be graded on the cur­rent sys­tem. In July, the school board voted to ap­prove chang­ing the grad­ing scale be­gin­ning with the 2018-2019 school year. School of­fi­cials will take the next 10 months to do re­search and de­ter­mine what the new scale will be, though it will be some vari­a­tion of a ten­point scale.

Cur­rently, the grad­ing scale for the school sys­tem is as fol­lowed: 100-94 = A: 87-93 = B: 80-86 = C: 73-79 = D: 72 and below = F. The school board and the su­per­in­ten­dent’s of­fice will take the next year to go over dif­fer­ent vari­a­tions of the ten point scale, and then ul­ti­mately de­cide which one to im­ple­ment.

School of­fi­cials, in­clud­ing Su­per­in­ten­dent Joseph Cox, talked about cre­at­ing a more “level play­ing field” for Colo­nial Heights stu­dents. The six point scale cur­rently in use is one of the tougher ones in the com­mon­wealth. Many par­ents and ad­min­is­tra­tors ex­pressed con­cern dur­ing the pub­lic meet­ings that the scale af­fects stu­dents when ap­ply­ing to col­leges.

The high school is also get­ting set to open two ma­jor im­prove­ment projects, which in­cludes up­grades to the sci­ence labs and the gym fa­cil­i­ties. Nine class­rooms were com­pletely re­done as state-ofthe-art sci­ence labs, com­plete with lec­ture ar­eas, sinks, gas out­lets, and up­graded lab equip­ment.

In ad­di­tion, stu­dents at the high school will get to ex­pe­ri­ence a brand new weight room. A 2,500 sq. ft. build­ing was added to the back of the school, be­hind the gym­na­sium. The weight room will fea­ture new ma­chines like tread­mills, and new set weightlift­ing equip­ment like benches and dumb­bells.

The city coun­cil and school board mem­bers took a special tour of the fa­cil­i­ties back in May, and were im­pressed with the projects. Di­rec­tor of Fa­cil­i­ties Kenny Har­relo noted that North El­e­men­tary and Colo­nial Heights Mid­dle School are due to re­ceive up­grades in the com­ing years.

The school dis­trict did not es­cape the sum­mer without some con­tro­versy how­ever. At the end of last year, sev­eral par­ents of stu­dents from Colo­nial Heights Mid­dle School com­plained that bul­ly­ing had be­come all too com­mon­place at the school. One par­ent was es­pe­cially in­censed after her daugh­ter had been phys­i­cally as­saulted ear­lier in the year. In re­sponse, par­ents whose chil­dren had been bul­lied held a meeting in June to dis­cuss what more could be done. Cox attended the meeting to hear the par­ents’ con­cerns.

Colo­nial Heights teach­ers and ad­min­is­tra­tors also go through train­ing with Ol­weus Bul­ly­ing Pre­ven­tion Pro­gram, which uses cer­ti­fied train­ers to teach about how to rec­og­nize and pre­vent bul­ly­ing. Cox also noted that stu­dents at­tend as­sem­blies at the start of each school year where “ex­pec­ta­tions for be­hav­ior are clearly set”. Though par­ents are won­der­ing if that is enough.

The dis­trict has a “zero tol­er­ance” pol­icy to­wards bul­ly­ing, though Cox noted that each in­ci­dent that is brought to their at­ten­tion is ex­am­ined on a case-by­case ba­sis.

Its un­clear whether the di­vi­sion will change any poli­cies in re­sponse the con­cerns raised by the par­ents, though Cox said he was open to hear­ing ideas from the par­ents.

Mem­bers of the Colo­nial Heights School Board and City Coun­cil tour the up­graded sci­ence labs at Colo­nial Heights High School on May 23, 2017. [JOHN ADAM/PROGRESS-IN­DEX.COM]

Up­graded sci­ence labs at Colo­nial Heights High School on May 23, 2017. [JOHN ADAM/PROGRESS-IN­DEX.COM]

[JOHN ADAM/PROGRESS-IN­DEX.COM] The new weight room at Colo­nial Heights Mid­dle School on May 23, 2017. When it opens, the room will fea­ture ex­er­cise and weightlift­ing equip­ment.

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