Message to Families: Spring 2020 Grading Practices

I trust you are taking the time to care for yourselves and each other as the days grow warmer and, together, we continue to stretch ourselves in response to the COVID-19 situation.

As promised, I am providing information on our amended grading structure for the current spring 2020 semester. I understand the grading practices for this semester will look very different than they traditionally might were we in traditional school. This current health crisis is requiring us all to think differently about what we have always done as we work to develop solutions and systems that will accommodate for the teaching and learning challenges that our students and staff are currently facing during this pandemic.

Throughout this process, we have considered the needs of our students, staff and families in determining the most reasonable possible solution for our students. We also engaged in thoughtful collaboration with our leadership, School Board and the Northshore Education Association. In the end, we received the following direction from the state:  The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction will adopt emergency rules that will require school districts to continue using grades to assess student learning for the purpose of high school credit-bearing courses for the last semester or trimester of the 2019–20 school year. The rules prohibit a binary pass/no-credit system, and they prohibit failing grades from being issued to students.

Therefore, based on the OSPI grading framework and the great deal of listening that we’ve been doing over the past few weeks, the Northshore School District will implement the following grading practices for the second semester of the 2019-20 school year:

Elementary Grading Practices
The District will adopt a ‘Prepared’ and ‘Prepared with Support’ approach to the final Elementary Progress Report.

Middle School Grading Practices
The District will adopt a model, with ‘Prepared’ or ‘Prepared with Support’ designations,  approach to the Middle School Progress Report.

High School Grading Practices
The District will adopt the use of A, B, or I (incomplete) grading criteria for high school credit bearing classes this second semester.

Feedback on Assignments and Learning Activities
Teachers will provide students with feedback on their participation and work for the purpose of helping students reflect on their progress toward learning and on what support they might need to meet standards.

Teachers will check attendance each instructional day (M/W/F) to ensure that all students receive the support needed to engage academically during the school closure.  Monitoring attendance will help teachers know which students should be contacted and invited to participate in Office Hours. 

I believe that our amended grading practices for the remainder of this year both align with OSPI’s directions and with our district goals to ensure students receive feedback and support on their academic engagement while minimizing the negative impact that school closures might have on a students’ academic records, progress and future opportunities. You can find more details on the grading practices here.

Thank you for your patience as we carefully considered the best possible solution for Northshore; together, all things are possible.

As our district continues to navigate this challenging time, we must continue to lean on the strengths of our community. We want to make sure that all of our students and staff are being treated with respect and dignity at this time and always ‚Äč- especially as we move to an online environment. This is not the time to segregate with unwarranted fear but to come together and help fight it with knowledge and compassion. It is vital to advocate for our community members and to stay kind to one another, and to uphold a culture of safety and belonging in and beyond our schools. In these tough and unpredictable times, we must stick together as a school community and remember that our diversity is one of our greatest strengths. I want to remind us that when we are done with this COVID-19 outbreak, and we surely will be at some point, our community will still be our community and our district will still be our district.  What we say to one another now and in the coming days, and how we say it, matters, as we will remember how we felt far into the future. In Our House, in Our Community, whether virtual or physical, we will remain one that is inclusive, civil and inviting. 

Warmest regards,

Michelle Reid, Ed.D.


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