Grading on a new scale
Several changes underway including new weight room
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.