Memorial Day Weekend!
Dear Central Academy students and families,
My husband reminded me that Memorial Day is this weekend. I looked at him blankly for just a moment and thought, “Is that still a thing?” I am experiencing The Pandemic Time Warp. A few times, I had to stick a post-it note to my computer screen to remember which day of the week it was. This semester has been exhausting. And I know parents are feeling it, too! There have been so many worries, hardships, and challenges. So I wanted to share with you a few things as this tattered semester comes to a close.
I am so sincerely grateful to the large number of students who stayed engaged in their learning despite all the challenges and frustrations. We had a big student turn out for our Senior Recognition with about 150 people working collaboratively to create a virtual ceremony. Nearly 90% of our AP students decided stay the course and attempt the tests. Nearly 90% our dual credit students chose to continue to learn in their college credit courses and about 85% of students chose to continue learning after buildings closed. While it was harder for our younger students to stay engaged without the AP tests to work toward or the college credit to complete, I appreciate students’ desire to earn top grades.
I know these levels of student participation would not have been possible without the support of families and parents, many of whom have had a lot to juggle in the face of this pandemic. Thank you for your partnership. As DMPS prepares our ‘Return to Learn’ plan, we need to hear from students and parents about their experiences with voluntary virtual learning this spring. We hope we will be able to return to in-person classes next fall. But if remote learning continues or resumes next semester, we will be using mandatory model of virtual learning. So we need to know what we did this spring that helped and what could be improved should we need to shift to virtual again next year. Please be looking for a link to the surveys for parents and students grades 7 – 11 soon. We’d like 100% participation if possible.
I deeply appreciate the DMPS leadership in response to this crisis. They have activated community partners and created the conditions for heavy collaboration between and among DMPS schools. The support and guidance our Academy program has received has been so helpful during the crisis.
Finally, I have been awed and humbled by the way teachers rose during this sudden and unexpected challenge. I know from personal experience how much work it is to convert an in-person class to a virtual class. Two years ago I created an online virtual high school course for DMPS to learn how to utilize Canvas and get a teacher’s perspective on developing a course in the SRG model. It took me well over 100 hours to put together a single semester-long course. Most Academy teachers had 3 – 5 different courses to prepare and transition to online learning in just 3 weeks. And they did it with compassion while adjusting to working from home. I continue to have such gratitude to be able to work with such a marvelous team of educators.
The official last day of school is May 28. Teachers must submit semester grades for high school courses by May 29.
Middle School Students: All Prep Academy 7th graders are taking middle school courses and will not receive grades this semester. All 8th grade Academy students are taking High School courses and will get high school credit for their course work this semester unless they withdrew from the course.
High School Courses: Because of all the options for high school learning these last few months, teachers have been posting final grades for each student individually. Usually, teachers post final grades for an entire class at once. But this semester has been highly individualized.
Teachers will post NP (not passing) instead of F (failing) grades this semester. Students who earn NP do not get credit (like an F) for the class but the grade will not be calculated in the GPA (unlike an F).
Teachers will post letter grades A(H) – D to reflect student learning of content that was taught before spring break.
- If a student earns a D, it will be entered as a D by the teacher and changed to a P automatically this summer.
- Students in grades 8 – 11 may choose to change the A, B, and C letter grades to a P (passing). Teachers enter the letter grade for the semester. Then in the fall, high school counselors meet individually with students to discuss options for the Spring 2020 transcripts to ensure everyone understands their choices. All 8-11 grade students will have this option regardless of the survey option they chose or their participation in the learning during the Spring 2020 semester. Counselors will then follow the process created to inform registrars of the desired change.
- If current seniors or 8th graders chose a P in March, it remains a P.
- Current seniors must self-advocate with a compelling argument to change to a letter grade of A, B, or C to a P based on individual circumstance by June 5 because they had the choice of a P in March.
|Semester grade||High School transcript||Decision is made…|
|F||NP||Automatically by teacher|
|D||P||Automatically by Infinite Campus|
|C||C or P||with student and counselor in the fall|
|B||B or P||with student and counselor in the fall|
|A||A or P||with student and counselor in the fall|
|A(H)||A(H) or P||with student and counselor in the fall|
|P (8th or 12th grades only)||P||Automatically by teacher|
DMACC Courses: Because DMACC dual credit courses were college credit courses, student had to finish the semester to earn the college credit. Teachers must post DMACC grades by June 4.
This semester we did allow students in these courses to choose to withdraw from the college credit and earn high school credit only. Students in dual credit courses who opted out of DMACC credit but continued with HS credit must take a P or NP unless the course is weighted without the DMACC credit (i.e.: AP class). AP/DMACC courses taken for HS credit only get the same choices as any other HS credit course.
Here are the grading options for dual credit courses
- Concurrent enrollment F will be a QA = Quit attending and this will appear on the transcript as a W with DMACC and an NP for the HS credit.
- Concurrent enrollment D will be changed to a QA (at DMACC) and they will NOT earn DMACC credit (W on the DMACC transcript) but will earn a P for HS credit.
- Students with a C- or higher could elect to keep their letter grade OR have their grade changed to a P after DMACC grades are finalized. The decision to take P in place of an earned letter grade must be communicated to your teacher by June 1. Teachers will document their students’ decisions and notify DMACC. DMACC will also send you an email in Mid-June to see if you want a P instead of a letter grade. If you don’t tell your teacher by June 1, you can tell DMACC directly between June 12 and 19.
|Semester Grade||DMACC Transcript||HS Transcript||Decision for DMACC transcript is made…||Decision for HS Transcript is made…|
|F||QA||NP||Automatically by teacher||Automatically by teacher|
|D||QA||P||Automatically by teacher||Automatically by Infinite Campus|
|C||C or P||C or P||Students notify teacher by 6/1 if they want a P.||by student with counselor in the fall|
|B||B or P||B or P||Students notify teacher by 6/1 if they want a P.||by student with counselor in the fall|
|A||A or P||A or P||Students notify teacher by 6/1 if they want a P.||by student with counselor in the fall|
|A(H)||A or P||A(H) or P||Students notify teacher by 6/1 if they want a P.||by student with counselor in the fall|
PREPARING FOR FALL
Obviously, we we will be stitching up our tattered semester for a while and trying to set right all that has gone wrong in the wake of the Coronavirus that is sweeping through our community. Some of you have shared your worries about your child’s academic progress during school building closure and what it will mean if school buildings do not open in the fall or have to close again mid-semester.
DMPS has already started preparing the tools, protocols, and infrastructure needed to adopt a mandatory model learning if we must continue or resume remote learning in some form next year.
Additionally, the Academy teachers are already actively and collaboratively preparing for how they will incorporate the essential skills and concepts that we missed in the 4th quarter of this year into our courses for next year. We have a strong history of ‘vertical planning’, that is, planning the sequence of learning over a series of courses within a subject. Since most of our teachers teach courses that span from introductory to advanced, we have a leg up on the task of modifying curriculum for what we expect to be a wide range of incoming student skill next fall. We have also been discussing how we will support the social and emotional needs of our students after this crisis.
I’ve been reading about how schools have recovered after other types of closures: earthquakes, hurricanes, teacher strikes. The research is encouraging, if counter intuitive. Having short, focused attention on specific skills or knowledge during school closure can counterbalance the loss of instruction over broader topics. I am very optimistic we can make up the lost academic ground quickly based on how teachers and students have responded in this crisis.
Over the summer, students can prepare for the fall semester through enjoyment reading, writing, and high levels of communication. Talk, talk, talk and listen, listen, listen to each other. Thinking is developed when you ask sincere questions and engage in robust, genuine conversation. Having a conversation can also help mitigate your child’s stress during this ongoing health crisis. When your child is irritating you, that would be a time to get curious, not furious. Sometimes normally calm teens can become excessively active or defiant or sluggish under extreme stress. A listening conversation can be an important starting point to alleviate some of that stress.
Finally, it is really important to put some punctuation in the calendar by finding ways to celebrate your normal traditions. I’m going to pause this weekend to remember those who have served our country. I’ve just realized that Memorial Day is this weekend. And the weekend is here!
PS: Remember text book return is next Friday from 9 – 4.