Standards Based Grading at Katahdin


We have been admonished that Standards Based Grading is “…not going away…”.  Given the opposition to this, and the Common Core from parents, and policymakers alike, no one can be terribly sure.  All parents can be certain about is that they are NOT “…going away….”  Please welcome cent7, and press this astute assessment of Standards Based Grading into better policies for our children.


This year at Katahdin High School, the freshmen were guinea pigs for Standards Based grading.  The administration rolled out the standards, not fully knowing how report cards or grading was done.  This is a 1-4 system, which does not allow for honor roll this year.  There may or may not be a valedictorian.  How would you have one, if you have no grades?  I don’t see how this is a good thing.  Why don’t we want our kids to work hard, to achieve, and be the best they can be.  Why would you implement something you are not ready for.  Why would you put something into practice without fully communicating your expectations to parents, teachers, and students.  Is this just another hoop we are asking students and teachers to jump through.  Then I find out that we do not have to implement this until 2020.  Parents of upcoming freshmen and next years sophomores should be very concerned about this.  We should be able to go back to the good old A through F system until this is fully ready to put into practice until 2020.  By then they probably won’t even use it.  Why should our kids be the guinea pigs for this system, which is not ready.  A 42 page report card, really, isn’t that the craziest thing.  I got news for administration, no parent wants to look at something that broad.  One page with grades is all we need. As parents, we need to have some say in our kids education,  we need to get together and demand that this be put on the back burner until they are fully prepared.  Lets work on getting this changed for our kids.

12 responses to “Standards Based Grading at Katahdin

  1. By not saying or calling them out, this will get worse and worse until the kids will be in a state of not trusting or respecting there schools. This is totally out of control. You can see it in ryan, the ministration,
    they just do not care. They LIE at meetings, they LIE to teachers, they LIE to students. People have to get PISSED off, starting on the 17th,,, VOTE NO. Until they start using there heads based on education for kids, not firing good teachers. They say the student enrollment decline is because of lack of jobs, that is every where. ASK this, how many is home school, how many has gone and going because of this shit. They will not answer you. The cheer leaders that follow these misfits, think every body happy, happy, happy.
    There WRONG about that and WRONG about there AGENDA.


  2. Stop standards based grading for our children!!


  3. Total agreement on putting the standards based grading on hold. This is not just another issue of parents complaining about the system. The education freshmen received under this system this year is unsettling to say the least. This is real. Upperclassmen have even voiced concern for the education of the freshmen and their feeling about their freshman year of high school. They see the change in students who are their friends and siblings and are genuinely concerned. Good luck to us, though, getting through to the people who make the decisions. They will defend it to the end. Is this an issue that parents can have say in and offer input? Or will we be just be put off as we were when it all began last fall? I don’t hear that 8th grade parents received answers to their standards based grading questions at the recent meeting. They should have some answers, they have now implemented it for a year. However, poorly done.


  4. I think the school board would be wise to read the following thoughts written by Kahlil Gibran in 1923. He explains so well what we all want the board to know our kids are our future and should have a voice, here are his words.

    Your children are not your children
    They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing
    for itself.
    They come through you but not from you,
    And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
    You may give them your love but not
    your thoughts. For they have their own thoughts.
    You may house their bodies but not their souls,
    For their souls dwell
    in the house of tomorrow,
    which you cannot visit, not even in
    your dreams.
    You may strive to be like them, but seek
    not to make them like you.
    For life goes not backward nor tarries
    with yesterday.
    You are the bows from which your children
    as living arrows are sent forth.
    The archer sees the mark upon the path of the
    infinite, and He bends you with His might,
    that His arrows may go swift and far.
    Let your bending in the archer’s hand
    be for gladness:
    For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
    so He loves also the bow that is stable.

    So to the board and Mr. Malone know that are kids do have a voice and we as the bows are the stable ones fighting for them.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh, when my husband opened the newspaper, and said, “What? No freshmen made the honor roll?” The contrast between other grades listed made it appear that no one in the freshman did work worthy of the honor roll. (sigh)

    In a case study of implementation of standards based grading in RSU 2, available here or from the MDOE, a quote struck me. “It’s hard for parents to hear, ‘Give me a year or two and I’ll fix that — their kid doesn’t HAVE a year or two.”. Responsible parents will find it more than difficult, but impossible. They will reject that, as they are here.


  6. Thank you for sharing that, Jerry! Parents need to ban together and hold a meeting with Mr. Malone and Mrs. Schmidt voicing concerns over the standards based grading ASAP. The grapevine says that they have no intention of going back to the old grading system despite the new 2020 deadline for implementation of the standards grading. Professional people have recommended that we not give up in asking for this to be addressed. It is not effective to voice your concerns with only Mrs. Schmidt. Unfortunately, we have to include Mr. Malone and even the board to further voice our concerns.


  7. This is almost criminal, standard base grading, in house punishment without notifying the parents, no freshman on the honor roll, out of control spending, complete chaos within the school, subs teaching more than regular teachers, no concerns about how they are messing up our kids. Bangor daily, they shut there superintendent down completely in medway, real cool to read. Houlton refused there budget, thats cool. I hope people are catching on.


    • Small schools like Katahdin are not only “viable”, but ideal; they do not die, but are “killed”, through the ugly process we are seeing now. Here is a letter from a friend in Searsport. The parallels are striking:

      what was happening in our RSU was that our former MSAD 56, which comprised of Stockton, Frankfort and Searsport, was getting the short end of the stick. Belfast and other communities on their side of the river had MANY more school board representatives, which gave our former MSAD 56 communities an unfair disadvantage and less of a voice of where the school dollars were going and less control of our own schools in our communities. The superintendent managed to close Stockton’s elementary school by taking out classes and transferring them to Searsport until the school population was so small that they said we had to consolidate with Searsport Elementary. To get around “closing” the school, they moved the area pre-k program into the Stockton school so that it was still serving educational purposes. Searsport High School has worked hard at coming back from losing their accreditation in the 90’s and has been working towards becoming a STEM school. The program is so popular and successful here that schools in Maine, New England and beyond have visited our campus and talked with teachers and students for advice and direction. The superintendent said more schools needed to close and he had Searsport High School on the chopping block even though our test scores were higher than Belfast and even though we are so close to becoming a STEM school. He wanted to move us into a school that is too small and falling apart, while our school is newer with modern improvements and state of the art lab, etc. If we moved to Belfast, we would have had to use modular classrooms as the school isn’t big enough to accommodate us. That was Belfast’s way of being able to say to the state they need a new school sooner rather than later. Basically it boils down to our communities wanting local control of our school tax dollars and control over keeping the momentum going with creating a STEM school – even a magnet school and tuitioning students from abroad. Our principal already has the ball rolling on this, and parents didn’t want to lose this opportunity by going to Belfast. I hope I made sense. This is what I understand, I don’t quite understand all the details and deeper issues, but just know that we have a good thing going and it would have been major steps backwards if our high school closed and we went to Belfast…

      …We have some real go-getters fired up and ready to keep the withdrawal process going (fingers crossed). We have a facebook page set up so people can share news, ideas, meeting times, etc. I learn a lot from that page from what people share. I don’t know if your group has a facebook page, but it’s helpful. We keep the page secret, too. People have even contacted places like MIT, Lego (where we do a robotics program that Lego is a part of), national news, etc., to ask for letters supporting STEM and the direction our school is going. The super. and RSU school board were bombarded with parent letters, calls, emails, and letters of support from places I listed above. That’s when they took closing Searsport off the table and let us begin our withdrawal process. They were trying to rush things so we wouldn’t have time to begin the withdrawal process, but they heard from the citizens and parents loud and clear. And I just learned today that Searsport District Middle and High School has been labeled “the best of the best” according to New England Association of Schools and Colleges, and those findings will be presented to the school board. So, that’s just more proof that our program is working and shouldn’t be dismantled. Good luck with your effort!

      There are lessons here for us, certainly.


  8. There worlds are slowly coming apart all over the state. Did you no that we were the only rsu that did not vote last week. Kind of suspicious. But oh well every thing about this is.


    • Vote on withdrawal? …or budgets?

      When we met with Rep. Long, we found a great deal of support for the withdrawal effort.

      Here is one more thing that will make your day. I was just told that, though the kids wanted to honor a beloved teacher with the privilege of turning their tassels at graduation, they were refused in favor of Greg Ryan. Disgraceful even for this lot….

      I didn’t think that “..for the kids..” speech got anywhere with you.


  9. He belongs on the board,,,,,,, like a fart in church…….


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