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Santa Fe School Board Hears Standard-Based Update, Approves Student Medical Cannabis Policy

Santa Fe School Board
Kevin Meerschaert
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Kevin Meerschaert
Santa Fe School Board

The Santa Fe School Board heard an update last night about the district’s upcoming move to Standard Based Instruction and Grading.

The Standard-based model focuses more on student achievement and acquiring skills instead of task completion. Numbers are used as a proficiency scale from one to four instead of just letter grades. Kindergarten through six-grade will be given the numbers, while 7 through 12 will have them converted to letters for GPA.     

Some classrooms in Santa Fe are already using the Standard-Based system but it will be implemented district wide in the fall. Superintendent Larry Chavez says so far the move toward the change has progressed well.

“So far, so good. We’ve created a lot of interest and teacher buy-in,” he said. “They are doing a lot of the work, we have to give them credit. We’ve gone through one of the toughest years in education and they’re still interested in this time of work.”

A 25-member task force of teachers, school and district administrators and staff from the offices of Curriculum & Instruction and Data & Analytics has been working on how the numbers will be converted to letter grades. Chavez says the schools have been holding meetings with parents and students around the district to explain the coming changes in grades and curriculum.

The School Board also approved the district's new policy regarding the use of medical cannabis by students. The new medical cannabis policy is mandated by state law.
Under the plan a student who has a medical cannabis prescription will need to have it administered only by a primary caregiver. 
The policy is similar to others for students regarding other controlled medical prescriptions needed to be taken during school hours. No students, teachers or other district staff will be able to have medical cannabis on campus at any time.        

Superintendent Larry Chavez says they will work with parents and guardians to make sure everything runs smoothly.

“The best way to really inform us is to be proactive in communicating with their school,” he said. “When they can do that we can help them work through the process but I would think the first step would be for families to communicate with their site administration and their site nurse.”   

Chavez says they will work on a medical cannabis policy for staff, teachers and other district employees at a later date. That will take working with the various unions to come up with a plan.   

Kevin Meerschaert comes to Santa Fe from Jacksonville, Florida where he spent the past 20 years covering politics, government and pretty much everything else.