14 April 2020
Dear Heritage Families,
Thank you for being part of our Heritage family. These are challenging times and I am glad to work through them with you. Hero families achieve more because we expect more. We are equal to any challenge as we work individually and together.
Depending on your school, we are in week two, three, or four of online education. We have received a few questions on the topic of grading. Below is some additional information on this topic.
“Why are other schools taking different approaches to grading?”
Many school districts have taken the stance not to have final grades affected by the move to a virtual platform. Districts schools are required by law to update their policies under these circumstances. Charter schools are exempt from this legal requirement and may do what is best for their families. Heritage respects our fellow district and charter schools. We know they will make the best decision for their learning community as we will with ours.
For our families, not providing new learning opportunities will put our scholars behind academically and less prepared for the upcoming school year. Further, Governor Ducey and Superintendent Hoffman have encouraged all schools to continue to provide meaningful learning opportunities.
To this end, our teachers are continuing to introduce new concepts and work with all of our scholars to ensure that grades do not suffer unnecessarily. In many cases, assignments have been adjusted in ways to make learning easier and provide greater opportunities for scholars to lift their grades. As usual, assignments should still be completed and submitted on time.
Teachers and Principals are available every day to step in and help with any unique circumstances that arise. Please continue to reach out to them so we can provide additional assistance.
“Does the Governor’s Order Relief Individual Students of Grades for Q4?”
One item to clarify is the “hold harmless” language that has been mentioned in a few emails to our administration. This language relates to the letter grades which are assigned to schools from the AZ State Board of Education (SBE). Since state testing was waived for this year, a new letter grade is not able to be assigned for this year. Schools are “held harmless” from this legal requirement this school year per HB 2910 signed by Gov Ducey. Last year’s grade will be applied to this year.
Some have confused the meaning and intent of this provision with student grades. They have assumed that this relieves schools from assigning new work and issuing grades as that work is returned. This is not the same idea. In fact, the opposite is true. The Governor has asked that meaningful learning opportunities should be available for students. The matter of grading for this work is left to the school. For reference, please see HB 2910 which Gov Ducey signed and the minutes from the SBE meeting on Tues, 31 March 2020.
“I heard that the Community Colleges are going to Pass/Fail grades. How does that impact our Dual Enrollment classes?”
For scholars taking Dual Enrollment (DE) courses, grades will continue to be reported to Rio Salado as normal. The Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) made grading changes to the way they issue grades for regular classes, but these grading changes do not apply to DE classes.
“What about final assessments and will there be opportunities for make-up work?”
With assignments and class loads being adjusted, Q4 is a great time for every scholar to improve their grades. Even still, some scholars will need extra time to submit missing assignments or redo other assignments or assessments. The week ending 7 May 2020 will be the last week for new concepts to be introduced.
Should the scholars be good with their grades, they are not expected to submit further work after Thursday, 7 May 2020. However, scholars who would like to improve their grades may submit additional work for grade enhancement. Each teacher will define the additional opportunities to raise grades during this time period. 21 May 2020 will continue to be the last day of school per our previously published calendar
I hope this information has been helpful. In future communications, I’ll have additional information on other topics like graduation and retention.
Governing Board Chair
Heritage Academy Schools