Academy Newsletter September 2023

Dear Central Academy Students and Families,

In late September we typically notice that students begin to worry about grades, even though grades are not issued until January and teachers are just beginning to collect and document evidence of student learning.   It is still very early in the semester, but to see the data entered so far, click on “Details” for the class in the Infinite Campus > grades.

We are also noticing across our community questions about what NM, PT, AT, and ET mean. We have some resources that you might find helpful:

  • We created this guide, Understanding Grading Practices at Central Academy, to help students and families understand how scoring, grading, and GPA works.  It explicitly describes how to read teacher’s grade books (with pictures from Academy grade books) across departments.
  • Just before the pandemic, DMPS also published this SRG Student Handbook.  It describes the rationale for Standard Referenced Grading practices and the big ideas in our grading philosophy.
  • Finally, Central Academy classes incorporate multiple opportunities for students to provide evidence of their learning by incorporating those opportunities into new learning.  Instead of going back to redo, retake, or reassess– which can slow down the learning and feed toxic perfectionism– we give students multiple chances to demonstrate skill on previous learning within new assignments going forward.  Just before the pandemic, we made videos to describe this process:


Parent-teacher conferences come a little earlier this year.  On Monday, October 16, we will have scheduled phone conferences from 12:30 – 3:30.  More about signing up for a phone conference will be out soon.  That evening from 4:00 – 8:00 PM we will have drop-in conferences, no appointment necessary, teachers will be on hand to meet with parents face-to-face. If you need a longer conference to meet with a teacher, please email them


I hope everyone is able to enjoy the holiday break this past weekend.  We will resume our normal school schedule tomorrow, Tuesday, September 26.


We know that some schools are still distributing student laptops.   Teachers are making accommodations while the distribution process takes place. If you are an out-of-district student, please see Mr. Jacobson in room 3021 to get your DMPS laptop.

Once you get a computer checked out to you, please bring your laptops to class fully charged.  Many of your assignments, explanations, resources, and assessments/tests are online.  Not having a laptop can be problematic.  If your school issued laptop is under repair, ask if your school can give you a loaner if the repair will take several days. Central Academy was only issued enough laptops for our Out of District students who do not have a DMPS home school.  Unfortunately, we do not have extra computers at Academy.


High School Students only:  Advanced Placement exam orders are due November 3 with a $40 deposit for each exam.  Students who qualify for textbook fee waivers do not have to pay the deposit because of a grant that covers the cost of exams if they are enrolled in the AP class.   The grant does not cover fees; if the exam is cancelled, the family must pay the $40 fee.

As students order their exams by signing into their College Board account at we will send their school’s bookkeeper a list of exam fees to add to student accounts.  Once the fee is added in IC, parents can pay online.   Find out more about AP Exam ordering here:


Are you interested in studying Law? Social Justice? Real Estate? Social Work? Or just want to learn how to mediate conflict?  Grab 2 friends and sign up for the Mediation Tournament October 26 – 28!

Central Academy is hosting the Midwest Regional Tournament for Mock Mediation.  From the makers of Mock Trial, a Mediation Tournament simulates the legal mediation process.  Students work together to reach an outcome that benefits all parties and promotes reconciliation and healing.

  • No experience necessary for Coaches or Students.
  • Training and Materials Provided.
  • Teams consist of 3 students and 1 coach.
  • Each student will have an opportunity to be the Mediator, the Advocate (Lawyer), and the Client.
  • Parents or an adult volunteer can serve as a coach for your team, or I can recruit one for your team.
  • Learn on Thursday, compete on Friday and Saturday.  Social mixer and pizza party with other teams on Friday afternoon!
  • Here is the tentative schedule for the tournament:  You will miss classes on Thursday, October 26, and in the afternoon on Friday October 27.  Schedule Regional Mediation Tournament Fall 2023
  • Teams from across Iowa and Missouri have indicated an interest in participating!

LINK to sign up:

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