Improving grades at HVRHS are welcome

It’s encouraging to see that, according to Housatonic Valley Regional High School Principal Ian Strever, the percentage of students at the high school who are receiving NYP (not yet proficient, formerly D and F) grades is decreasing. (See article by Patrick Sullivan in last week’s Lakeville Journal.) The first quarter of the 2018-2019 school year shows 13.4 percent of students with NYP grades. That seems like a much more reasonable group than previously, though of course it would be even better if all the students became proficient in each of their subjects during the school year.

But this is the real world, and that just is not realistic. The good news is that Strever also talked with Sullivan about an approach to summer school for those students who need extra time and help to understand some of their schoolwork. It does not need to be a standard time frame with instruction geared toward the generic student, but rather more flexible and targeted directly to the needs of the individual students in the program. If it takes two days rather than two weeks for any students to master a concept that eluded them during the school year, they can move on and feel ready for the next semester.

It’s also interesting and encouraging that the freshman and sophomore students have a lesser percentage of the NYP grades, showing that moving into the system in elementary school gave them an advantage in understanding the system once they moved on to the high school. There are enough challenges in navigating high school without needing to learn a new system of grading and even a new approach to learning, which is part of what made the transition to the new scheduling and grading system so tough.

There are of course those who will continue to have issues with the NYP approach, and parents who still feel the sting of what was a difficult rollout of the program that could have been communicated better in its initial stages. Change never comes easy, and when its necessity and process is not expressed well at the outset, it puts the outcome all the more in question. 

For those who do continue to  have problems with the grading and scheduling program at HVRHS, please let us know your concerns. All sides of the topic are worthy of being aired, and this is a good forum in which to do that. Send letters, 500 words or fewer, to editor@lakevillejournal.com before 10 a.m. Monday for that week’s issue.