Council Examines Exams While Moderator’s Gavel Changes Hands (Sort Of) – Council Update (1/24/18)

This past week’s Council meeting brought discussions about various new topics. As usual, the meeting started with the standard Committee and Council Leadership updates. Dresden School Board Representative and senior Perrin Milliken discussed how the Board finalized and passed the budget. Milliken clarified that the Board will wait one year before adding money to the budget for fixing the turf field. Assistant Moderator Jasper Meyer then discussed how Mr. Campbell was going to sign the Course Evaluation Standardization Motion but that recent opposition at a staff meeting has forced him to reconsider.

The first item on the agenda was the Assessment Under Absent Teacher Motion. Brought by junior Representative Romaney Granizo-Mackenzie, the motion would require teachers to be present on the day they give a test. Essentially, if a teacher is absent on the day of a test, it gets pushed back two days. Rep. Granizo-Mackenzie said she brought the motion because she likes having teachers present to clarify any questions during a test, and that she finds it frustrating when teachers aren’t there. The motion faced instant questioning as multiple Council members pointed out flaws in the motion. Junior Representative Oliver Minshall asked Rep. Granizo-Mackenzie what would constitute a test and how one could differentiate between a test, a quiz or a minor assessment. In response, Rep. Granizo-Mackenzie simply stated that “this is a terrible motion right now, feel free to amend it.”

Many staff members criticized the motion as well. Staff Representatives Mr. Bourne and Mr. Prince questioned whether or not such a motion was within Council’s jurisdiction. In addition, Rep. Prince went further to say the motion was “needlessly bureaucratic.” Many student representatives agreed with the staff representatives in this respect. One of the student representatives who had a similar opinion was Co-Treasurer Max Taxman, who said that Council shouldn’t be the first place you bring a problem that you have with the school. The motion failed nearly unanimously, with only Junior Representative Leila Trummel voting for the motion. Even Rep. Granizo-Mackenzie, who brought the motion, abstained from voting.

The last thing on the agenda for the meeting was a discussion about exams. AMOD Meyer began the discussion by stating how he thought exam week for him this year was completely useless and that all of his finals could have been taken in regular school periods. Moderator Aisling Kelly spoke up for the first time in many months, saying that she was anxious to have a discussion about exam week as she doesn’t approve of putting all of her studying power into one exam from which she will never learn from again. Mod. Kelly speaking incited a funny moment as by rule she is required to hand the gavel to next in charge as a check on the Moderator’s power. However, next in line AMOD Meyer had also already spoken so the gavel was handed to Co-Treasurers Taxman and Seigne, who excitedly grabbed the gavel away from Meyer.

Rep. Milliken then discussed how she found exam week to be important as well as a nice break from the intensity of a normal school week. Secretary Catherine Han agreed and added that she feels it is important for kids to learn how to focus for two hours straight. Mod. Kelly finished by saying that in many semester courses you never get to go over the exam with your teacher, which is not a good thing. Following Mod. Kelly’s statement, Council voted to adjourn and the Co-Treasurers banged the gavel with a gusto often lost in the sometimes monotonous endings of Council meetings.

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