Exciting Changes in Our District!

Exciting Changes in Our District!
Posted on 09/11/2015

September 10, 2015


Dear Parents/Guardians,

I wanted to make you aware of some exciting changes that are happening in our school district. The first change involves the way our school district will assess and grade students. Over the last several years, administrators and teachers have been looking for ways to improve educational outcomes for our students.  As a part of this effort we have been researching best practices and collaborating to develop assessment procedures that will have a positive effect on student achievement. As a result of this effort, we have decided to go forward with implementing standards-based grading starting with the 2015-16 school year.


The Glendale-River Hills School District reporting standards are based on the Wisconsin Academic Standards, the Common Core State Standards, and the Next Generation Science Standards.  When students are assessed based on standards they are expected to master, learning improves. This change puts us in line with what is happening on a national level and in school districts throughout our state and local area.  You will note the new report card provides much more information to parents and guardians regarding both subject content and student achievement. We will continue to share information regarding standards-based grading and our new report card format as the year unfolds.


What is Standards-Based Grading?


In a standards-based grading system, teachers report what students actually know and are able to do relative to the Wisconsin, Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards. Standards-based grading offers many advantages over traditional grading, including:


Improved student achievement of standards in all content areas,

Information that allows teachers to adjust teaching practices to better meet the needs of students, and

Development of assessments that encourage student reflection and responsibility.


In addition to changing the way we grade, we are changing the way our students and staff access and use information.  As part of the process of becoming a 21st century school district, we have updated our labs and many of our classroom and teacher computers.  We have also increased the number of student devices. At Parkway we have recently distributed over 60 iPads for student use in the classroom.  At Glen Hills we are in the process of distributing over 60 Chromebooks for student use in the classrooms. We will continue to increase the number of iPads and Chromebooks at both schools in the coming years until we reach a full one-to-one device for each student in our District.


Another change that has been in the works for several years is the transition to a new district website.  We wanted a site that met the following criteria:


Easy for students, parents, teachers and community members to navigate to help ensure easy access to information,

Easy for staff to edit to encourage frequent updates to information so that the website is always current,

Attractive and functional with built-in features that promote student learning, and

Integration with Google Apps for Education.


We chose SharpSchool as our new web platform as it met all of these criteria at a reasonable cost.


Our new website can be found at the same URL as our former page:


Please be patient as we move into our new website home.  We are working as fast as possible to get the site up-to-date.  There are still some pages that are “under construction.”  Keep checking back to see how it evolves!


Lastly, we have also changed our student information system.  We have moved from PowerSchool to Infinite Campus. We chose Infinite Campus for many of the same reasons we chose SharpSchool as our website host:


It is user friendly and also offers a parent/student portal for smartphones and tablets,

It is easy for parents, students and teachers to navigate,

It includes a standards-based report card system, and

It includes an easy-to-maintain parent and student data base making it easier for the schools to contact parents/guardians in an emergency.


I just wanted you to be aware of some of the changes that are happening in your Glendale-River Hills School District as we move forward in helping our students to become 21st century learners.  More information on all of the above will be discussed at our next school board meeting on September 16, at 7:00 p.m. in the Glen Hills Library and at a soon to-be-scheduled parent information night at both Parkway and Glen Hills. Thank you for your continued support in helping to make the Glendale-River Hills School District a wonderful place for our students to grow academically, as well as, socially, emotionally and physically!



Larry Smalley

District Administrator