School rules on GPA

PAT FRIDGEN

Grade point average standards will not change at Greencastle-Antrim High School. That was the recommendation accepted by the school board Nov. 3 following a summary of the GPA Review Committee's research into possible tweaks. Bob Crider, Director of Educational Operations, reported on the work of the 18-member committee over the summer. It had been formed to investigate the usefulness of current standards due to the wide range of classes available to high school students, some of which were worth 4.0 points, others 5.0.

The committee met three times as they discussed current standards, weighted classes available through AP courses and the Early to College and Dual Enrollment programs, and the criteria colleges looked for in applicants.

"We wanted our students on a level playing field as they went off to college," said Crider. "Our mission is to provide opportunities to students so we didn't want to limit any."

The accelerated courses are popular with the students, but the rigor of each depended on the content and the teacher, whether at the high school, Mont Alto or another post-secondary school. The committee found it couldn't resolve any of those disparities, but now was at least aware of them, Crider said.

The group surveyed eight institutions of various educational caliber to find out the value of GPA on acceptance to that school. It also asked about consideration of grading scales and class rank, and scholarship qualifications. Responses included the additional importance of SAT or ACT scores, extracurricular activities, coursework, and recommendations.

The institutions also indicated a good impression of Greencastle students.

"There are no perfect GPA systems," Crider noted. "Ours is most advantageous. Local colleges have a high regard for our students."

The committee reported colleges expected differences among applicants from all over the state, country and world, and had adopted procedures to fairly assess each person.

Crider appreciated the chance to analyze G-A's system and as a result, will form a committee of teachers to more closely examine the grading scale, which uses 92.0 for an A, 83.0 for a B, 74.0 for a C, and 67.0 for a D.

The GPA Committee consisted of administrators Mark Herman, Ed Rife, Ron Powers; school board members Dan Fisher, Charles McClain, William Thorne, Eric Holtzman; parents Jodi Ebbitt, Regina Hissong, Brenda DeYoung, Cathy Crider; teachers Diane Reed, Ken Shull, Karrie Hefner; and representatives from Penn State Mont Alto and Hagerstown Community College.

Scotland School closing

The closing of the Scotland School for Veterans Children will affect which teachers G-ASD can hire for the next three years. Supt. C. Gregory Hoover notified the board that Act 50 of 2009, enacted by the General Assembly Oct. 9, created a hiring pool of furloughed teachers who receive priority. According to a letter from Thomas E. Gluck, Executive Deputy Secretary of the PA Dept. of Education's Human Resources Office, Greencastle is in the territory that must hire from that pool as vacancies arise.

Professional and temporary professional employees from SSVC are in the pool through June 30, 2012, or until hired by a school within a 17-mile radius of the closed facility, in an adjacent county, or whose enrollment is over 8,000 within a 45-mile radius. That includes Greencastle, Chambersburg, Fannett-Metal, Tuscarora, Waynesboro, Franklin County Career and Technology Center, Gettysburg, Shippensburg and Harrisburg.

"Those entities are required to extend special hiring rights to the members of the pool," Gluck wrote.

Additionally, a certified professional must be offered an open position based on seniority, no new employee may be hired until all qualified pool members have been offered the position, and the SSVC teachers will get credit for all accumulated sick leave and years of experience.

"Not much we can do about it," said Hoover.

He added that if an SSVC teacher turned down an offer, he/she would not be off the list. If they took a job outside of the territory, they were still eligible for an open spot the following year in the affected districts. He thought the pool contained about 20 names.

"That's wrong," said McClain. "That's so wrong."

Other business

The board transferred $258,000 from the general fund to the capital reserve fund on the recommendation of Business Manager Richard Lipella. He said it was a one-time savings from the recent bond refinancing.

Earlier decision

The board held a special meeting Oct. 21 to consider recommendations of the Pupil Personnel Committe concerning a middle school student. Members present, Kristy Faulkner, Mike Shindle, Paul Politis, Howard Ritchey and Holtzman, approved the disciplinary measures. A seventh-grade boy wrote a bomb threat in a classroom earlier that month, but no evacuation of the school was necessary.

The boy was placed on out-of-school suspension, with homebound and Blended Schools available for his education for the balance of first semester. He is also on social probation and to undergo a psychiatric evaluation. The case will be reviewed to determine if he returns to campus for second semester. Assistant principal Gerald Crable said the student had no previous discipline issues.