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Decatur School Board to discuss grading policy, board member salary and benefits

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Decatur School Board to discuss grading policy, board member salary and benefits

City Schools of Decatur’s new Superintendent Dr. Gyimah Whitaker (center) with Board of Education members from left, Hans Utz, Chair James Herndon, Vice Chair Dr. Carmen Sulton and Jana Johnson-Davis following Whitaker’s swearing in on Tuesday, June 13, 2023. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Decatur, GA — The City Schools of Decatur School Board will meet on Tuesday, Oct. 10, at 5 p.m. for a regular meeting. The meeting will be held in person at the Wilson School Support Center, 125 Electric Ave., and virtually via Zoom.

The school board has updated its meeting schedule and will meet once a month. Meeting times vary each month based on the length of the agenda. All meetings will continue to be live-streamed and open to the public, except for the executive session.

Here is the meeting schedule for Sept. 12:

Executive Session: 12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Prework Session: 2:30 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Work Session: 4 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Board Meeting: 5 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Public Comment: 6:30 p.m. – 6:50 p.m.

To access the meeting, follow these instructions:

To view the meeting agendas, click here.

To join the meetings via Zoom, click here. To join by phone, dial+1 646 558 8656 or +1 301 715 8592. The webinar ID is 956 1415 9391.

To make a public comment, in-person attendees can register online before the meeting or upon arrival by scanning a QR Code on the Board Room entrance. Registration will ensure that the district collects information necessary to conduct COVID-19 contact tracing. Please ensure the name you enter on the form matches the name you use(d) to sign-up. If the names do not match, it will not be possible for you to be recognized to participate in public comment. To sign up for public comment, click here.

– During the pre-work session, the school board will discuss a new grading systems policy. CSD has not had a formal grading policy. The draft policy outlines a four-point grading scale for kindergarten through fifth grade. The policy also provides definitions for when to assign each grade.

Grades six through twelve would use a 100-point scale under this draft policy, and it focuses on the mastery of state standards. Students in the International Baccalaureate program would also be evaluated based on the IB middle years program and the IB diploma program.

Additionally, the policy also outlines high school grade point averages and that bonus points will only be awarded for advanced coursework.

In 2021, the district formed a grading task force that was charged with studying equitable grading practices and offering recommendations. Last year, CSD implemented some of the recommendations from the task force.

Some of the recommendations from the task force included having a consistent grading system and platform, no longer using ManageBac for general grade recording and reporting, relating all grading to the mastery of content standards, and implementing clear policies, parameters, and boundaries around make-ups and retakes, according to the presentation.

– During the work session, the school board will discuss the beginning of the year assessments, as well as the first reading of policies related to employee ethics, employee protection, and equity.

– During the regular meeting, the school board will discuss Superintendent Gymiah Whitaker’s 90-day plan. The board will also discuss the school board’s salary and benefits.

Currently, board members receive $600 a month and the board chair receives an additional $50 a month. School board members also participate at their own cost in any form of insurance made available to CSD staff. The school district does not contribute toward health insurance premiums for school board members, according to a presentation attached to the agenda.

The salary recommendation increases the pay from $600 a month to $900 for board members, $925 a month for the vice chair, and $950 a month for the board chair.

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