Happy new year and I hope you each had a productive return from our December break. This week I’ve been thinking a great deal about grading structures in schools. In reflecting on my own preparation for teaching, I don’t recall spending much time exploring effective grading systems, and as a result, I think my skill in this area was significantly lacking as a new teacher. In particular, I wasn’t as clear as I needed to be in my expectations, and my use of letter grades was not accompanied by much detailed feedback to students on how they could improve. In short, my grading system was a hot mess. The most significant improvement in my grading came when I began team-teaching with a colleague in the English Department. We were forced to delineate our learning expectations and outcomes, which were codified in the detailed rubrics we jointly developed. In reviewing her thoughtful feedback on papers, I quickly became more adept at providing students with feedback on how to improve in their work. I’m guessing some of you may have had a similar experience in your entry into teaching.
Fast-forward to today, and grading systems are a much-debated topic in education as well as within our community. At the secondary level, we have been incorporating more examples of standards-based or evidence-based grading. At the heart of this effort is to both clearly define important learning objectives, and then to provide students with feedback on the degree to which they have mastered these objectives and/or where they have more work to do. Any change to grading structures is no easy task, particularly at the secondary level where we know pressures such as college competitiveness, can be intense. I know we are still very much at the front-end of this effort to improve grading practices to make them more consistent across classrooms, more closely calibrated with our common learning expectations, and carefully structured to provide students with clear feedback on how they can improve.
I recognize that there is some skepticism both internally and out in our community about making any changes to the way students are assessed. I also know that at times, this work may feel unfamiliar and messy as we pilot new approaches and make improvements as we learn. That is the nature of any innovation. I think it’s essential that we continue to lean in to these conversations and remain focused on how our grading practices can best support student learning and growth.
I look forward to taking this important journey with you as, collectively, we strive to improve our practices for all WPS students.
Enjoy the weekend!
FY24 Budget Presentation Connectivity – Monday, January 9th
Join from a PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone or Android device:
Please click this URL to join. https://wellesleyps.zoom.us/j/87608675744?pwd=SFY4a1lvQXpMbnpIbTJLRmY5QkpMZz09
January 9, 2023 – All Staff Budget Presentation – 3:15 p.m. Zoom Presentation
January 16, 2023 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – Schools and Offices Closed
As part of our ongoing effort to strengthen support for our WPS BIPOC Community, I am inviting any interested WPS staff member to join me in a conversation on how we can continue to progress in recruiting, developing, and retaining a more diverse workforce.
Monday, January 30, at 3:15 pm.
Wellesley High School – Faculty Dining Room
Please RVSP here
Jorge S. Allen, Ph.D. (he/él/ele)
Interim Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Wellesley Public Schools
New Baby Bliss!
Congratulations to Danielle Caveney, Middle School Counselor, and her husband Connor, on the birth of their daughter Lyla Rose Caveney, born on December 13th
Human Relation Services
The Human Relation Services (HRS) can help. Wellesley Public Schools has contracted with HRS to provide up to ten free counseling visits for you and/or your family members. This program is designed to help you deal with stresses of life and work –including personal and family issues, drug or alcohol problems, and job related tension. It offers prevention and intervention to reduce these stresses and improve coping skills.
HRS is located at 11 Chapel Place in Wellesley and can be reached at 781-235-4950. This is a confidential service. Wellesley Public Schools is not aware of the names of employees or their family members who utilize this service.
Do you have a question for the WPS Human Resources Department?
Email AskHR@Wellesleyps.org. The Human Resources Department is happy to assist you.
WPS Internal Job Postings on District Website
For all Internal Job Postings, please go to “Internal Job Postings” under the Faculty tab of the District’s website.