Hagerstown Jr.-Sr. High School students could have a better chance of winning scholarships or be more smoothly admitted to colleges after their scale for grade point averages is adjusted, district officials said.    

At their June 12 meeting, Nettle Creek school board members approved student handbook changes for all grades.

At HJSHS, changes include eliminating a 12.0 grade scale in favor of a 4.3 weighted grade point average as other Wayne County schools follow. Dual credit or higher-level courses will get a 3% bump. 

Superintendent Emily Schaeffer said the 4.3 scale won’t need conversion for college applications. And, the playing field for scholarships will be level with other students earning weighted grades, Schaeffer said. 

Board President Shaun Lieberman suggested flyers and letters for students and parents to explain the change and its benefits. Schaeffer said counselor Julie Arnold met with every rising senior to describe potential impact. 

The grade scale change isn’t related to Indiana Department of Education’s plans to revamp high school diplomas. HJSHS won’t implement new graduation requirements until 2025-2026. Schaeffer’s awaiting state guidance before HJSHS’ plan is created, especially because Indiana currently plans to eliminate academic honors diplomas.

Another handbook change involves new legislation for K-6 attendance concerns. Written notifications are required after five and 10 days. Schools will contact parents multiple ways, such as postal mail, phone calls, email and ParentSquare, and ask how they can help kids return. 

In other business

In May and June meetings, the board received information or took action on several items.  

  • About half the HJSHS students attending summer school already completed requirements to get back on track to graduate. 
  • Building principals are leading reviews of 2023-24 data to determine where their students met goals or fell short and what worked and what didn’t. They’re also setting goals for 2024-25 and determining what changes might help. 
  • As Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds run out by September, district officials prepare to see an impact on cash flow. One concern is collecting unpaid preschool tuition. 
  • Renewed Chartwells’ contract for food service with a 5.2% fee increase. 
  • Renewed Communities in Schools’ agreement for site coordinators in both buildings. CIS seeks candidates for HJSHS. 
  • Approved policies on topics such as bullying, student suicide awareness/prevention, public complaints/concerns, coach training/references/state reporting, student concussions/sudden cardiac arrest, and employment for extracurricular activities. 
  • Approved agreements with Ivy Tech and Indiana University East for courses. 
  • Approved summer camp and an out-of-state leadership conference for Family, Career and Community Leaders of America members. Students are seeking donations.  
  • Approved English/language arts textbooks.
  • Jim Antle encouraged student/teacher attendance at monthly Civil War Round Table meetings in Connersville.  
  • The board meets again at 6:30 p.m. July 10 in Hagerstown Elementary’s LGI room, 299 N. Sycamore St. 

Personnel updates

  • Hires: Melissa Burns, HES special education teacher; Alison King, athletic secretary, Hallie Rogers, on-call substitute teacher 
  • Summer roles: Christy Herr, supervised agriculture experience; Chris Blaase, PLATO credit recovery; Michelle Hart, English/language arts; Mary Randall, math; Scott Snodgrass, conditioning coordinator; Phil Renforth, Caleb Blaase, Jeb Clifton, Brad Catey, Betsy Swimm, conditioning coaches; Mark Doerstler, Brad Catey, Scott Snodgrass, Brian Dale, coaches; Charles Rinehart, mowing; Leland Waterman, student maintenance; day care: Tabitha Robinson (lead), Sarah Hall, McCartney Locke, Mya Edwards, Alyssa Evans, Emily Reed, Ava Neuman
  • HES Jumpstart: Hannah Rogers, Laynie Vinson, Paige Johnson, Leah Stinson, Rachel Harman, Amy Dickerson, Madilyn Coomes, Jeff Becker, Haley Dickerson, Samantha Stainbrook, Jane Bertsch, Paige Stuart, Carla Young, Courtney Diercks 
  • Departures: Brynden Alvey, HES special education teacher; Julie Bowman, athletic secretary; Scott West, HJSHS mentor teacher; Haden Dickerson, long-term sub 
  • Retirements: Paul Hinshaw, HJSHS custodian; Dallas King, bus driver
  • Volunteers: Nearly 60 band/color guard volunteers
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A version of this article appeared in the June 19 2024 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Millicent Martin Emery is a reporter and editor for the Western Wayne News.