New research project for students to graduate

Jul. 15, 2014 @ 04:01 PM

Teachers should have less work supervising high school students’ graduation projects, and end-of-course tests will not count as much toward each student’s graduation, under changes approved by the Caldwell County school board Monday night.

The graduation project was replaced by a “Multi-Genre Research Project,” intended to allow more time for teachers to focus their in-classroom time teaching it. The Multi-Genre Research Project will allow mentoring hours and outside judges on final projects to be optional, as decided by the individual teachers, said Katrina McEllen, director of Caldwell County high schools.

“We wanted to leave some flexibility for our teachers, and if they want to require a mentor within their class as part of their project they can choose to do so, and if they want to invite outside members into judge, we wanted to leave that to be a teacher’s decision,” McEllen said.

There had been many complaints and concerns from teachers, McEllen said, so a committee of teachers was created to discover the most common concerns, including difficulty finding mentors and outside judges with enough time to help with projects.

The board also approved lowering the percentage of how much an end-of-course test counts towards a student’s final grade from 25 percent to 20 percent.

Also Monday, the board tentatively approved changes to the Student Athletic Eligibility policy to conform to recommendations from the North Carolina High School Athletic Association.

The board also appointed new principals to two schools.

R. Adam Windmiller will take over at Hudson Elementary School, replacing Andy Puhl, who will be West Caldwell High School’s new principal. Windmiller has worked as an assistant principal at Fred T. Foard High School in Newton since July 2012. He has also served previously in Caldwell County Schools as a teacher at South Caldwell High School, Hudson Middle School and Gateway Alternative School.

Amy Braswell-Lowman will take over at West Lenoir Elementary School. Braswell-Lowman has served as the assistant principal at Granite Falls Elementary School since 2011. She has also worked at South Caldwell High School and Granite Falls Middle School as assistant principal. Braswell-Lowman takes the place of Kristy Hollar, who is being reassigned.