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Ferndale School District announces distance learning grading system

Ferndale High School file photo. Whatcom News

FERNDALE, Wash. — Superintendent Linda Quinn announced today the Ferndale School District would forego the traditional A-F grading system for middle and high school classes during the current semester of the 2019-2020 school year. This is the semester that was abruptly converted to distance learning classes soon after Governor Jay Inslee’s order to close all K-12 school buildings beginning March 17th.

We have decided to temporarily suspend the traditional A-F grading system and use only two marks in our secondary schools for spring semester of the 2019-2020 school year.  When second semester ends in June, all students will receive either an “A” or an “Incomplete” for each of the courses in which they are enrolled. (Note: There will be a designation on students’ transcripts to indicate the courses were taken during a period of distance learning due to the Covid-19 emergency.)   Linda Quinn (May 6, 2020)

While granting local school authorities the ability to pick their grading policies, Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal said they were to implement “do no harm” grading policies, preventing districts from giving failing grades for the term. Quinn said today, they were to focus on “compassion and common sense.”

According to today’s announcement,

  • Students are expected, to the extent possible, to remain engaged in learning activities assigned by their teachers in order to earn an “A” for their semester grade.
  • Teachers are expected to assign activities and lessons aligned to the most essential learning standards for each course/subject area they teach.
  • Teachers are expected to provide feedback to students aimed at promoting progress, growth, and engagement. 
  • Teachers are expected to issue an “Incomplete” only in rare instances when students have failed to engage after teachers, counselors, and/or administrators have made multiple attempts to contact them.

Quinn said they are “refining our process for student evaluation at the elementary level, and we expect to share information with you soon.”

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