February 1
A video of our students is shown to the House Education Committee in Des Moines as a lead-in to proposed state legislation on competency-based education.

February 8
(AM) While in Des Moines, one of our school administrators is approached by a state representative who serves on the House Education Committee.  She suggests a visit on Friday afternoon would be a great way to learn more about what she saw on the video.

(PM) Additional legislators express interest in visiting our high school.  School administrators, including myself, begin planning Friday's schedule.  A press release formally invites legislators, area educators and interested media representatives to an open house on Friday afternoon.

February 9
An area television station visit the district to begin capturing the story of the upcoming legislators' visit.  [Personal note: I can't recall the last time I was interviewed by a television reporter, let alone interviewed with less than an hours' notice!]

February 10
(AM) The television station broadcasts live from our high school and posts a short summary of the story, "New Grading System Catches Lawmakers' Attention."

(PM)  Several legislators and a handful of area educators participated in an open house, most of which was streamed live (archived video below).

Video streaming by Ustream

February 11
An area newspaper columnist shared her take-aways on the grading shift:
"Standards-based evaluation rewards learning more than the timing and rote processes of learning. To the students, it just makes more sense. Of course, that doesn’t answer every question about how competency-based systems might work — figuring out how to manage classrooms and staff when students are coming and going as they learn, not when the calendar dictates, will be no small task.  But after seeing the passion of those Solon kids, excited to be captains of their own learning, I am certain."

It was an outstanding week for the students and staff in our district to showcase the great things going on each and every day inside our buildings and an equally positive opportunity to spread the positive aspects of a standards-based grading philosophy to a wider audience.


2/18/12 Update:
February 16
The local newspaper ran an article as well, which included some of the responses from the student panel:
"You're in control of your grade," she said, summing up the feelings of some students.Other students said that instead of worrying over points for homework and worksheets, they felt the new system helped them understand the concepts in classes. 

4/21/12 Update:
~30 minute video capturing the day's events: