Sheridan School Board discusses communication, student incentive days

SHERIDAN – At their regular meeting for September the Sheridan School Board discussed how best to accomplish the district’s monthly goals previously established by the board and school administrators.

The goal for the month of September was identified as communication, and Superintendent Kim Harding explained that so far the district has taken several steps to improve the level of communication between the school and surrounding community. These efforts include an automated calling and email messaging service to notify parents and students about school events, monthly newsletters from individual teachers and classrooms and electronic assignments for seven to 12 students available on the school website. Other steps the district has taken toward their goal of communication include an information packet for new students as well as an updated student handbook.

Harding explained the goal is that “Sheridan Schools will communicate to its stakeholders using various forms of media, ensuring access to school events, processes and policies.”

The board also received a presentation from Principal Rodney Stout and student representative Brant Marsh on revisions to the districts policy for incentive days.

The incentive days are intended to reward students who miss fewer than four days of class per semester by allowing them the option not to take final exams at the end of the second semester. Previously students were required to have a passing grade in all their classes to be eligible for incentive days, but Marsh said students requested to change the policy to require a C or higher in all classes in order to receive the incentive days.

“With the incentive days, it seemed like some kids were scrambling to get eligible, get their Fs up to Ds or D minuses at the very least, just so that they could get out of semester testing and graduate that year,” said Marsh.

“That doesn’t seem like we should be rewarding kids for almost failing, so I think its good to have at least a C to get out of those tests.”

Trustee Travis Derby agreed with the change.

“If you got a D, you should take the semester test because obviously you do not have the material down,” he said.

In other news, trustee Therese Sutton was recently appointed to a state task force for the Next Generation Science Standards by the Montana Office of Public Instruction science curriculum specialist Kristen Crawford. These standards for science curriculum are currently being developed and are different from the Montana Common Core Standards for Mathematics and English/ Language Arts. Sutton was asked to join the task force by Crawford after she contacted OPI to learn more about how the Sheridan district’s current science curriculum compared with other schools around the state.

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