CARSON CITY — The Carson City School District will transition all secondary students to a Pass/Fail grading system for the second (Spring) semester of the 2019-2020 school year. The decision comes as principals, district-level administrators and members of the teachers’ union have discussed the extension of school closures following spring break.
“In our discussions to address the needs of our families and students at the close of this extraordinary school year, we have used as a guiding principle the idea to ‘do no harm’ to students,” said Richard Stokes, superintendent for the Carson City School District. “This statement will mean different things to different students given the many circumstances of individual families. As such, within the Pass/Fail grading system at the secondary level, we have implemented a process where a student or his/her family may appeal or petition the school principal to post the student’s letter grades in lieu of the Pass/Fail grade to the final transcript.”
Stokes said “Moving to Pass/Fail grading will benefit the staff and students without negative consequences for students with collegiate aspirations. Universities across the country have made it clear that students will not be penalized for missing traditional standardized tests or for posting credit or no credit transcripts for this semester.”
“Grading policies must take the needs of all students into account, including those of English Learners, homeless and foster youth and those with differing access to digital learning and other tools or materials,” said Tasha Fuson, associate superintendent of Educational Services for the Carson City School District. “Fortunately, there are many different ways students can demonstrate understanding of standards. Teachers can give students a range of options in how they demonstrate their understanding of essential standards, allowing them to utilize strategies, technologies or platforms with which they are already familiar and that fit their differing context and needs.
For students with disabilities, any changes to learning strategies or grading policies should, as appropriate, be done in conjunction with the student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) to ensure that the changes respond to their learning needs.
Additionally, individual schools will need to establish policies for how students can make up late or missing work due to illness. Schools and teachers should reevaluate existing policy and make necessary changes based on the unique demands of distance learning, taking into account the need to be flexible given the public health crisis.
Middle school students who do not have the credits needed for promotion will be promoted to ninth grade at Pioneer High School (PHS) for the 2020-2021 school year. PHS will create intervention plans to assist these students in their transition to high school.