MF grading system may be changed

MARTINS FERRY During Monday’s meeting, the Martins Ferry Board of Education heard from Jeffrey Oberdick, principal at the high school, and Robert Dalton, guidance counselor, concerning a proposal to alter the grading scale at the high school to allow for plus and minus classifications for grades.

Oberdick said the issue came up when receiving transfers from other schools. Most of the surrounding school districts utilize that system, as do many colleges, and an analysis uncovered potential benefits by adopting it.

Dalton said the system would call for adopting the 10-point grading scale. He added that many of the teachers are in favor.

“The whole idea was that it needs to benefit our kids. That was the whole idea behind this. It makes it uniform,” he said.

He pointed out that this will level the field with students competing for scholarships with districts that utilize a 10-point scale.

He added that GPAs are now one of many factors used to evaluated prospective students for acceptance.

Dalton also speculated that the change might encourage students to take more demanding classes if they know a slip will not be overly detrimental to their GPAs. He added that both mid-range and higher-achieving students will have an opportunity to earn a slightly higher distinction.

“We think, after looking at the numbers that this is the best way to go for our kids,” he said, pointing out that US News and World Report ranks the top 100 high school in the county. Of a random survey of 45, 33 use the t0-point system. The US Department of Education concluded that the most common system in the country is the 10-point scale.

In other matters, Rick Rogers of Martins Ferry spoke to the board, asking that the district attempt to make provisions for voting on school property. While he credited the district for its accomplishments and the dedication of the staff, he noted that voting on the school site is expected.

Superintendent Dirk Fitch said the calendar was being assembled and the board will attempt to make school property available during the next election. He noted a parent/teacher day or other event could be scheduled.

In addition, the board decided to add the position of Middle School Study Table Monitor with a compensation of four percent of the base salary. The position would involve monitoring middle school basketball players and cheerleaders daily 3-4:30 p.m. or until the start of basketball practice. The individual would also assist students with homework and log them onto Study Island to practice for OAA exams.

Board noted that the children are usually scheduled for the 4:30 p.m. gym time and the bus trips home and back and often parents are working and unable to provide transportation.

In other business, board accepted Dalton’s resignation as Junior High wrestling coach effective immediately.

Jordan Ford was approved as a substitute teacher for the 2013-14 school year.

Board also accepted the resignations of Vincent West, bus driver, effective Nov. 30, 2013, and Becky Johnson, middle school secretary, effective Jan. 31, 2014.

Board also approved the employment of Thomas McCardle, Jr., substitute custodian.

Board approved Derek Edwards as a certified sophomore class advisor.

Chad Ware was approved as varsity assistant wrestling coach.

Taylor Yoder was approved as a ninth-grade wrestling coach.

Michael Rose was approved as junior high wrestling coach.

Michael Shreve was approved as volunteer assistant wrestling coach.

Jim Fogle, Sue Levi and Rachel Moynihan were approved as volunteer assistant swim coaches.

Rich Materkoski, Greg Steele, Paul Matuska, and Dirk Fitch were approved as volunteer indoor track coaches.

Clay Tucker was approved to coach in another district for the 2013-14 wrestling season.

Board approved an unpaid leave of absence for Paula Riethmiller for an unknown amount of time.

Board considered approving stipend pay for teachers.

Board approved in-door track season beginning Dec. 2.

Board approved a new job description for a personal special education aide.

Ayers Elementary was recognized as a 2013 School of Promise.

Bruce Hotlosz, tech coordinator, Carol Burda, EMIS, and Dalton were given permission to attend career technical education update training. The associated costs will be meals, mileage and possibly hotel for conference in Plain City Dec. 4 for Burda and Hotlosz. The Marietta training at Dec. 10 for Dalton will not include a stay. Conference itself is free.

DeFrank can be reached at