Grove City Area School District administrators are making progress on a professional development project designed to change and improve the way students learn.

“The response is fantastic,” Superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Finch said of the faculty’s feedback.

At Monday night’s school board meeting, Finch updated board members on the “action learning project,” which aims to help students develop leadership skills and shift the focus from working toward an “A” to mastering what they’re learning.

He told board members to expect questions from parents of children in elementary school about the revised grading system.

The action learning project is based on the “world-class education system” model designed by the National Center on Education and the Economy.

“It shows us where the gaps are,” he said of the work that’s been done so far.

Administrators are studying the NCEE’s “nine building blocks” of successful school systems, and they’re being challenged to look at the teachers’ growth and impact on students, Finch said.

He wants to encourage the staff and faculty members to team up and help one another, and he’s already seeing that happen.

“When I ask people to share, they say ‘what do you need?’” Finch said.

It is very easy for administrators to maintain what they’re familiar with, but Finch has them moving forward and out of their comfort zone, said board member Dr. Michael O’Donovan.

“That’s a real challenge,” O’Donovan said.

Board member Roberta Hensel noted how society is changing from industrial to technological. It’s not just what you know; it’s how you use what you know, she said of what students need to learn.

“It’s a whole different paradigm of thinking,” she said.

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