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Ferndale School District announces elementary schools’ grading system

Ferndale School District sign outside the administration building on Vista Drive (October 22, 2016). Photo: Whatcom News

FERNDALE, Wash. — Superintendent Linda Quinn announced yesterday “new learning work” completed by Ferndale School District elementary students since Governor Jay Inslee’s order to close all K-12 school buildings beginning March 17th will not be used to calculate a student’s final grade.

Elementary students will receive a report card at the end of the year. However, the report card will not include standards-based grades for second semester. All subject areas on the report card will either be “grayed out” or designated with a “DL” to indicate essential academic standards or skills were offered through a distance learning (DL) model. (Please note: Our grade-level teams have worked collaboratively to identify the same essential standards and skills for all students in that grade across the district.) The report cards will also include personalized comments focusing on areas of strength and encouraging growth for each individual child. Finally, the report cards will contain a consistent statement regarding the Covid-19 school closure.

During the final weeks of the school year, our elementary team will make every effort to maintain weekly contact with families. This contact may take a variety of forms — emails, phone calls, class dojo or remind messages, log-ins to online learning resources, participation in class zoom sessions, or work with one of our support staff. We have been asked by the state to track such engagement on a weekly basis, and we encourage families to help us with this process.

Linda Quinn (May 7, 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.

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In response to whether an elementary student is able to move on to the next grade in the fall, Quinn said, “We do not believe students who have missed some content or skills because of our current distance learning model should be required to repeat their grade. Only in rare occasions when the classroom teacher, building administrator, and parent all reach consensus that retention would be in the best interest of the child will we consider it. “

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