AUGUSTA — Cony High School students, upset about their school having received a C grade from the state, came up with their own grading system to rate their school in 10 categories.

In all but two areas, the students rated their school higher than the state’s C, giving Cony A- grades or better in six areas: student and staff relationships, extracurricular offerings, athletics, diversity and tolerance, administration, and guidance services.

The grades were determined by the high school’s 16-member student council, with some input from other students.

“Many of the students at Cony were upset at Cony being graded a C by the state of Maine,” Cony junior Morgan Neill, a student council member and the student representative to the Board of Education, told board members Wednesday after she handed them Cony’s student-generated report card. “We feel there is a lot more to our school than statistics. And who better to grade a school than the students?”

In general, the state’s letter grades for high schools were based on standardized test scores, proficiency and growth, as measured by the Maine High School Assessments, as well as graduation rates.

Guidance counselor Chuck Hinds, an advisor to the student council who worked on the report card idea with students, said the idea sprang from discussions between students and staff members about their frustration that the entire school was judged as a whole solely in those areas.

So they came up with what they felt was a more comprehensive look at what takes place at their school.

“The feeling was a lot of students and staff have worked hard to make this a really great school,” Hinds said Thursday. “So to see it graded a C on some statistics with very little criteria was kind of frustrating. They wanted to make a statement there was a lot more to it.”

Students had hoped to survey the entire student body, staff and parents; have them all grade Cony; and average those grades together to come up with Cony’s report card.

However, Hinds said they didn’t have time to do so, and they wanted to follow up on the grades issue while the state’s grades were still on people’s minds.

He said next year they hope to do a more thorough report card, seeking grades from all students, staff and parents.

School board members praised students’ efforts to grade their school.

“I’m extremely impressed by this,” said Deborah Towle, an at-large board member. “It’s very telling getting it from the students’ eyes. I look forward to getting it from staff’s eyes, and parents’ eyes, as well, and take a look at that.”

The grades weren’t all stellar.

In two categories — student health services as well as alternative programs and credit recovery — the student council gave Cony a C- in each.

“Though we do have an excellent health center with wonderful, caring nurses who are there for us, and they’re always willing to listen and help, students are deprived of drug and alcohol rehab help, counseling and contraceptive care with helpful information accessible,” Neill said of the C- for student health services.

Cony’s best grade was in athletics, an A+. Neill reported students said sports were an incentive for them to work harder in school.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647
[email protected]

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