ORR Accepts Press Box, JHS Discards Honor Roll

The Old Rochester Regional School Committee on June 14 accepted a donation of a new press box for the ORR sports field.

Athletics Director Bill Tilden said the proposed press box is designed to dovetail into the athletic complex overhaul the nonprofit group T.U.R.F. is proposing over the long-term.

The donation would cover the $30,000 press box, with no cost to the school.

“This is something that needs to be done,” said ORR School Committee member Carey Humphrey.

Chairman Tina Rood agreed, saying she herself has witnessed the scorekeeper sitting in the rain amongst electronic equipment, making the job dangerous at times.

The committee accepted the donation, which includes additional funds for the press box construction costs.

In other matters, the junior high school is doing away with the honor roll, paving the way for students to gain recognition in a number of ways instead of just focusing on grades alone.

Junior high Assistant Principal Silas Coellner said a recent visit to the middle school in Marblehead demonstrated that shifting the focus of achievement away from grades only and ditching the honor roll had a positive impact on students and their eagerness to progress academically without comparing grades with other students.

It’s all about the growth mindset, said Coellner, saying the Marblehead school saw an uptick in students progressing in a number of ways and getting more out of their education by measuring growth by what they have learned as opposed to the letter grade they received.

“We saw that as a negative influence,” said Coellner about letter grade emphasis.

Coellner pointed out that it has been years now since the junior high printed an honor roll in the newspaper, although the ranking of honors and high honors was always noted on the report card.

The school will now further its transition away from the emphasis on grades by striking the honor roll, as well as the Junior Honor Society, from the student handbook and from school policy.

Principal Kevin Brogioli said that according to one nationally known education expert, there is something to the philosophy of giving heavy weight to letter grades.

The kids in junior high, Brogioli said, are at different levels of maturation as well as academics, and the school has looked at this in relation to achievement for some time.

The school will now look at other ways to recognize effort and progress and highlight students individually for their growth.

The junior high will also move towards the standards-based report card measuring mastery instead of featuring letter grades.

“It’s tied with that,” said Brogioli. “It’s all part of the bigger philosophy that’s coming.

Assistant Superintendent Elise Frangos commented, “I’m thrilled with the direction of the junior high entertaining this notion.” Frangos continued, “I’m thrilled with this wave of looking forward.”

The next meeting of the Old Rochester Regional School Committee is scheduled for September 13 at 6:30 pm in the junior high school media room.

By Jean Perry


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