Saturday, February 25, 2017

TOMMIE SAYLOR: Grading is about mastery of the material

“Grades don’t measure anything other than your relevant obedience to a manager.”
John Taylor Gatto

By Tommie Saylor
Kennedy High School Principal

Teachers place a tremendous amount of effort into the development of their lessons, trying to make their lessons authentic, relevant, specific, rigorous and entertaining. 

But, after putting so much effort into the development of their lessons, teachers often forget to place an equal amount of effort into what can arguably be the most important part of the learning process: Grading.

The purpose of assigning grades is to assess the student’s mastery of the material taught, and the extent to which the student mastered the material.  In addition, assigned grades are as much a measure of the student’s effort, as it is of the teacher’s ability to inspire the student’s willingness to learn. 

Given this, each instructor should place a good amount of effort into determining how they are going to assess their students, what is important enough to grade and what does not have to be graded, and most importantly, make sure that what you are grading is student learning – not the students’ ability to follow directions, procedures, or other such incidentals.

The days of granting extra credit for bringing in a box of Kleenex are gone. Soon, the days of averaging grades and taking points off for turning an assignment in late will be gone. Remember, it’s not about making things easier for the instructor; it’s about measuring if the student gained mastery over the material, and if not, finding a way to help them master the material. 

Teaching is a service job – it is not about making your life easier. It’s about improving the lives of your students by opening doors through the medium of a good education.

The future of education is aligned with standards based grading and mastery learning.  The “Holy Grail” of education is grading a student purely on the level of knowledge gained, and nothing more.

Helping students to find their greatness. Making Kennedy the school of choice. Excellence by design.


At Blair Moody Elementary School everyone had a “super” night recently as students, parents and staff came out to enjoy an evening of learning and family fun at "SuperHero Literary Night.” They had the opportunity to participate in a variety of creative literary learning stations.

TAYLOR SCHOOLS participate in Special Olympics Unified event

On February 13, several Taylor Schools participated in the first Special Olympics Unified Sporting Event by going bowling.

Blair Moody Elementary, Hoover Middle School and Truman High Schools were named Unified Champion Schools by Special Olympics of Michigan.

Taylor School District runs the POHI Program for 15 of the Downriver Communities. These students have physical or health impairments and are a welcomed part of the district!

The Special Olympic Grant provides integrated sporting events, positive interactions between our POHI athletes and general education partners. Everyone looks forward to building understanding, developing relationships and enjoying activities together.

DISTRICT CELEBRATES 25 years of Coach Chuck Suttles

Truman High School, the Taylor School District and many others surprised long-time Coach Chuck Suttles with a reception in his honor and a plaque commemorating his more than 25 years of coaching varsity basketball last week.

Many of his former players and assistant coaches were in attendance and it was a great reunion of athletes from the Taylor Center era, and of course, from Coach Suttles' time as varsity coach at Truman High School.

Pictured with Coach Suttles is Taylor School District Athletic Director Loren Ristovski (above).


Second-graders at Eureka Heights Elementary School recently received a visit from the Fur Angels and read with the dogs. The Fur Angels' reading program was created by Martha Hall, the Lincoln Park organization's founder, and former Taylor teacher Kate Capion. The idea is to promote reading and help young children read through interaction with pets.

PIANO WARS fundraiser to benefit Taylor Schools Foundation


The Randall Elementary School Players performed to a sold out crowd every night during their 24th play at Randall School on February 13, 14 and 15.

Randall had its largest number of students participate during the past five years.  The students worked hard beginning in December learning reading, speaking and listening skills in the classroom as well as practicing those skills as a whole group with the play “Twas the Week After Christmas.” 

This year’s play emphasized the moral that we can do things better when we do them together. It started with the elves and reindeer both discussing how they are excited about their vacation after the long Christmas season. Soon, as they realize that they are both at the same tropical location, the fights ensue. 

Each group thinks that their job is the most difficult. Finally, with the help of an undercover Mrs. Claus, they realize that they are both important parts to Santa’s workshop. The students did an awesome job this year!

The Randall staff and students would like to thank Mr. Mike Carey of Mike Carey Music for allowing them to use his own personal equipment at the last minute to make our sound fantastic.  If you have any music needs, please consider Mike Carey music for those needs at 1673 Fort Street in Wyandotte.