Now that we have returned from Easter Break, I want to reiterate how we are handling major items regarding academics. We want to make sure you understand the what, how, and why of our decisions.
ACADEMIC ADJUSTMENTS & ACCOMMODATIONS
Teachers are making the adjustments and accommodations to provide tiered expectations for their students. Teachers will be explicitly communicating these options and expectations to their students, so please ask your child about what their teacher has posted or provided. The goal of this progressive differentiation is to provide a path forward for students who want to maintain an excellent average, students who want to challenge themselves to raise their average, and struggling students who need additional opportunities to demonstrate proficiency. Please continue to communicate directly with subject teachers and your Academic Counselor if your student is experiencing unique challenges or there are extenuating circumstances with your family situation we should be aware of.
We will maintain and publish letter grades on transcripts for all students, seniors included. We will NOT be moving to a pass/fail system. There are current seniors whose athletic eligibility, financial aid packages or scholarships are contingent upon reaching or maintaining a certain GPA; we cannot go P/F for some and not all. Additionally, there are students who have strived all year, even three and a half years, to earn the grade they are now proud of. To replace that "A" or "B" or even "C" with a generic "Pass" does not honor or recognize their efforts and achievement. Neither does it serve the Class of 2021 or Class of 2022 students especially whose GPA would be helped by the letter grade they earn this semester for their overall college admissions profile. We are determined to give our students every advantage and opportunity possible.
Instead of going pass/fail, we are using the tiered approach to expectations and assessments as described above. It is the appropriate compromise for our students and our school. The schools that are going Pass/Fail are largely schools who were ill-equipped to move to online learning and whose student populations have serious issues with equity and access to necessary resources. Those issues do not apply to us. We were set up for success through our integration of Schoology, prior Online Learning Days, and the timely professional training of our faculty and staff. We are blessed with talented faculty who continue to innovate and evolve under these challenging conditions because of their dedication to their students, your children.
BOLD SCHEDULE & PARTICIPATION
We will continue requiring at least one "green" live, synchronous block for each class each week. All "tiers" of support, however, will involve consistent participation and engagement in the online classes, particularly those "live" green blocks, until the end of the semester. Engagement in class is not just about academic learning at this critical time in our students' lives; it is about nurturing their mental and health by keeping them emotionally connected, productively occupied, and intellectually stimulated. We were deliberate in not requiring additional live sessions in line with best practices for online learning and trauma-informed teaching. It is not healthy for students to be in live sessions that do not allow them to step away from their screen or take stretch breaks for four or more hours a day. The BOLD schedule is emailed out to the entire student body as a link every morning with the Announcements.
AP COURSES & FINAL EXAMS
The College Board publicly posted and notified students of the change in the exam content, timing, and online format. Those updates have also been communicated to students by their individual instructors and students have been instructed to create their AP profile accounts using their PERSONAL emails, if they have not already. That information is announced and emailed out every day with the Morning Announcements as well. You can review the College Board's updates here: https://apcoronavirusupdates.collegeboard.org/students
Our public calendar reflects those new AP Exam dates as well as the change that we will NOT be administering any traditional final exams of our own. You will see "Final Reflections" noted during exam week as teachers will be planning a final class session for meaningful reflection. Teachers may still have final projects that students are currently working on as their culminating learning experience or assessment.
Thank you for entrusting us with the academic, social, emotional, and spiritual development of your children. We value our partnership with parents and guardians as the primary educators of your children. Our partnership is healthiest when we communicate openly, and as always, we want to be as transparent as possible in communicating our "why". Thank you for trusting that we are thoughtful, intentional, and deliberate in our decision-making to ensure we are doing what is right for our Providence community.