OPRF puts grading changes on hold until September

OPRF Briefs

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Changes in grading practices considered earlier this year at Oak Park and River Forest High School will not affect the incoming freshman class of 2010, Asst. Supt. for Curriculum and Instruction Phil Prale said last week.

Prale serves on the Philosophy of Grading Committee, which decided at an April meeting that the proposed changes should be discussed further before the school takes any action.

"We just tried to wrap up ...from [the] 04-05 [school year] and prepare for discussions in 05-06," Prale said. "We didn't find any compelling reasons for [grading] changes."

The committee has plans to talk more in September about the role class rank and weighted grades play at other schools and in the college admissions process, and about grading practices in general, he said.

It has not yet scheduled more community forums.

The Grading Committee consists of Prale, OPRF Superintendent/Principal Susan Bridge, a faculty member from each of the nine academic divisions, and a dean/counselor.

The idea of changing grading practices was publicly proposed at a Feb. 7 community forum where plus and minus grades, how grades are weighted, and the possibility of including physical education, driver education and music performance classes in grade point average (GPA) calculations were discussed.

Up to three A's and B's earned in honors classes are "weighted"; these grades add more points to a student's GPA than would similar grades in regular classes. Changing the number of grades weighted per student per semester, weighting honors and Advanced Placement classes differently, and weighting C's were also topics discussed at the forum.

Many attending the forum were concerned about adding non-academic classes to students' GPAs. Attendees also expressed concern over how inclusion of the grades would "water down" OPRF's academic reputation with college admissions departments.

Budget costs rise 3 percent,

referendum pushed to 2010

The tentative 2005-6 OPRF budget shows a three-percent increase in expenditures tempered by expected state aid increases of $221,147.

The tentative budget presented to the Board of Education June 20 delays the expected date for the district's next operating referendum?#34;originally planned for 2008?#34;to 2010.

Expenditure increases are a result of new contracts signed with four of the school's unions, including certified teachers, last year.

The board considers this year to mark a "turning point" in the referendum cycle, the budget states. Annual surpluses will begin to decrease, with deficit spending predicted "in advance of the referendum."

The tentative budget will be on public display for 30 days starting August 17; final approval is expected at the board's September 22 meeting.

?#34;Elena Levenson

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