Bearcat Brief

February 1, 2019

Notes from Niki

We had a fantastic time at the Powerful Learning Conference. It served to reaffirm that many of the practices we have in place or are "works in progress" push schools and kids forward. It also helped ignite that inquiring part of my brain, which needs to be done every once in a while. If you don't feel like you have had that opportunity recently, please look at the Heart of Missouri RPDC or your professional organizations. There is still PD money available for your learning.

I hope we can build some momentum and get on a roll this winter, but the weather doesn't seem to want to cooperate. The weather has caused a couple of schedule changes:

  • We will move the end of mid-quarter to February 8. Mid-quarter grades will be due on Monday the 11th.
  • The end of the quarter will move back to March 14. Grades will be due at 3:30 on March 15.
  • CMMA Day will be Wednesday, February 6. You can wear jeans with a CMMA T-shirt.
  • The student of the month assembly will be Friday, February 8.
  • We will keep our 3rd Quarter Incentive Day on March 1.
  • Since we rolled January PLC meetings back a week and then missed a few days, I think we can incorporate some PLC time in on our PD day on 2/11. We will not meet next week.

Dr. Smith has agreed to let us do after school tutoring 2 days a week until 4:30. It would pay $25. Please let me know if you are interested in participating in this by Wednesday 2/6. Those that are can get together and create a schedule, and then I will get the word out to parents.

Professional Reading/ Resources:

The Results of More-Equitable Grading Practices

In this Education Week article, consultant Joe Feldman (Equitable Grading Project) says that “traditional grading practices result in grades that provide unclear and often misleading information to parents, students, and postsecondary institutions. Teachers often combine a range of unrelated student information into a grade, compressing a bucket of information into a thimble-sized container.” This kind of grading tends to have the most negative effects on students identified as misbehaving and those without access to books, resources, and the Internet at home, perpetuating and amplifying social inequalities.

Feldman suggests the following ways to make grading more accurate, bias-resistant, and motivational for students:

  • Shift from a zero-to-100 to a zero-to-4 grading scale. 100-point grading is “mathematically oriented toward failure,” says Feldman.
  • Stop giving zeros for missing work. - Give more weight to recent performance and growth versus averaging performance over time.
  • Allow students to retake tests and projects with a chance to improve on previous scores.
  • Grade work on required academic content and standards, separately assessing effort, homework, and class participation.
  • Lift the veil on what students need to learn and what it takes to get good grades by providing standards-aligned syllabi, rubrics, and simplified grade calculations.
  • Facilitate students’ understanding, ownership, and power over their grades by encouraging self-assessment and peer evaluation.

Working with teachers in California schools, Feldman and his colleagues found that implementing these shifts decreased the number of D’s and F’s, produced grades that more accurately reflected the quality of student work, and resulted in a closer correlation between grades and standardized test scores. These improvements were most pronounced with students who qualified for free and reduced-price meals. What’s more, says Feldman, these changes resulted in improvements in school climate: “[T]eachers and students reported that classrooms are less stressful, teacher-student relationships are stronger and more trusting, and students are more motivated to learn after these interventions.”

“It Is Time to End Inaccurate, Inequitable Grading Policies” by Joe Feldman in Education Week, January 23, 2019 (Vol. 38, #19, p. 18-19),; Feldman can be reached at

Upcoming Events


February 2- Groundhog's Day (please let winter end)

February 2- Blue and White Night, 5:00 p.m. @Hermann Hill

February 4-8- National School Counseling Week

February 5- PLC Leadership Team Training @Jefferson City

February 6- CMMA Day

February 6- Freshman Orientation @HHS

February 7- Mid-Quarter Grades Due

February 7- PLC Leadership Team Meeting, 3:15

February 11- PD Day

February 12- MS Faculty Meeting, 7:30 a.m.

February 14- Board of Education Meeting, 6:00 p.m.

February 18- Make-Up Day, school is in session

February 19- Middle School Track Parent's Meeting, 6:00 p.m. in the cafeteria

February 20- PBIS Leadership Team Meeting, 3:15 in the conference room

February 21- 7th and 8th Grade Girls' Volleyball vs. Union, 5:30

February 22- PBIS Leadership Team Training @HOMRPDC (Missy, Amy, Crystal, Niki)

February 24- Hermann Kids Travel Trivia Event @HHS, 2:00 p.m. (Note: travel is not school sponsored)

February 25- 7th and 8th Grade Girls' Volleyball vs. St. Clair, 12:30 (Day game- we probably need to talk strategy/schedule)

February 25- 7th and 8th Grade Girls' Volleyball @Washington, 5:30

February 27- HMS Student Council Meeting, 3:15

February 28- 7th and 8th Grade Girls' Volleyball vs. Owensville, 5:30


March 1- 3rd Quarter PBIS Incentive Day

March 1- FIA Dance, 7:00 (supervisor needed)

March 4- 8- National School Social Work Week

March 4-8 National School Breakfast Week

March 4- 7th and 8th Grade Girls' Volleyball @ Pacific, 5:30

March 5- P-LC Leadership Team Meeting, 3:15 in the Library

March 5- Choir Concert, 7:00 p.m.

March 8- Read In Day

March 8- 15- HMS Scholastic Book Fair

March 11- PD Day

March 12- 3rd Quarter Grades Due

March 12- 7th and 8th Grade Girls' Volleyball @ St. James, 5:30

March 13- Band Concert, 7:00 p.m.

March 14- End of 3rd Quarter

March 14- 7th and 8th Grade Girls' Volleyball vs. Bland, 5:30

March 14- School Board Meeting, 6:00

March 15- Quarter 3 Grades Due, 3:30