Haddon School Board Discusses Grading Scale Concerns and SRO Funding

The Haddon School Board meeting addressed issues including community concerns over the current 7-point grading scale, the use of COPS Grant funds to support a School Resource Officer (SRO), and various educational initiatives and facility concerns. Amid these topics, the grading scale issue emerged as the focal point of the meeting, with community engagement and potential impacts on student opportunities taking center stage.

Community members expressed strong concerns about the district’s 7-point grading scale, raising questions about its fairness and potential negative impact on students’ college acceptance, merit aid, and scholarships. Jennifer Parker, Barbara Nasco, and Kelly Mine voiced their apprehensions about how the grading scale could disadvantage Haddon Township’s students compared to neighboring districts that use a 10-point grading scale. Nicole Kennedy inquired about the grading committee’s timeline and stance, while Joe Gallagher emphasized the urgency due to financial implications for families. Jeremy McCarthy and Joe Abby Cogin echoed these sentiments, with McCarthy sharing his personal experience with college applications and the potential disadvantages he faces.

Board member Tracy Suet responded by expressing a commitment to student success and the necessity of addressing the community’s concerns promptly and effectively. The board took note of the strong feelings and arguments presented.

In addition to the grading scale debate, Superintendent Carla Bittner updated the board on the status of the arts department, including the High School Musical “Into the Woods,” student ad sales, and upcoming events. She also mentioned the impact of water damage on music rooms and introduced plans for a memorandum of understanding between the district and law enforcement.

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The discussion of the COPS Grant for an SRO further drew attention, with Chief Hack offering to provide additional information at a later meeting.

The board touched on a decrease in violent incidents and vandalism at schools, crediting character education programs and proactive measures for the improvement. This positive trend in school climate points to the success of the district’s efforts in fostering a positive educational environment.

The Finance and Facilities report highlighted the receipt of an SDA emergent project and capital maintenance program award, prompting discussions on the appropriate allocation of these funds.

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Educational programs and professional development activities were also discussed. The board highlighted the Fast Phonics Reading EGS program and the I-Ready program, aimed at supporting students with reading gaps and building math fluency, respectively. Updates on upcoming courses for the 2024-2025 school year were provided.

The Personnel Committee reported on policy reviews related to teacher and staff attendance, as well as the treatment of religion in schools. The policy adjustments being considered reflect the board’s attention to compliance and ethical standards within the educational system.

Student services discussions included the purchase of additional hours for two Brookfield school students currently attending out of district, confirming the district’s support for students with unique educational needs.

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Finally, the policy section of the meeting proceeded without debate.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.

Superintendent:
Carla Bittner
School Board Officials:
Renee Billingsley, Marie Dezii, Kellie Hinkle, John Kendall, James Lex, David Ricci, Allison Rodman, Kristyn Souder, Isis Williams

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