Grading Policy during Remote Learning

Dear Denver School of the Arts community,

We hope that you and your family are doing well during this challenging time. As Superintendent Cordova shared last week, DPS has provided updated guidance on how grading will work for students in 6-12th grades. We want to share more specific details with you on how grading will work at our school, so you and your student know what to expect in the weeks ahead.

Initially, information involving remote learning grading was suggested to move to a credit / no credit model. However, after careful examination and reflection on feedback from many high school students, families, educators, and leaders about a credit / no credit model for spring semester course grades, a revised resolution has been established.

In response to feedback received, the grading policies for the spring 2020 semester for DSA will include flexibility where students are able to continue on the path of credit / no credit, or move to earning a numerical grade for each selected course. The following gives an overview of what students should know in regard to grading:

High School 9-12

*  Students will be able to improve upon their grade for the rest of this semester.

*  Students will be able to decide on a class-by-class basis which grading option they prefer.

*  Additionally, it will be possible for students to make the choice to receive credit for a course instead of a letter grade until the end of the school year.

*  Denver School of the Arts High School will be deemed 100 % credit / no credit unless otherwise indicated. The process to change to a letter grade instead of credit / no credit is as follows:

*  To give the teachers a chance to calculate and input grades and students to decide their grading options, grades for seniors will be posted by noon on May 15 and seniors will have until 3pm on May 19 to complete the grading option form provided by their teacher. This form will document each student’s choice: letter grade or credit/no credit. Students need to complete this form for each semester 2 class.
*  To give the teachers a chance to calculate and input grades and students to decide their grading options, grades for 9-11 students will be posted by noon on May 22. Grade 9-11 students will have until 3pm on May 27 to complete the grading option form provided by their teacher. This form will document each student’s choice: letter grade or credit/no credit. Students need to complete this form for each semester 2 class.

*  You may change your preference anytime prior to these dates if you wish to have a letter grade instead of a credit / no credit.

*  By 3pm on May 19 for seniors and by 3pm on May 27 for 9-11 students, any grades that have not been requested to be changes to a letter grade will automatically default to credit / no credit.

*  For this semester, any F grades will be transcribed as “no credit”. Students will have the opportunity to improve a “no credit” at a later time.

Middle School 6-8

*  Instead of numerical or letter grades, all 6th-8th grade students’ grading will be credit / no credit.

*  We ask that students continue to do their level best to be fully engaged and finish the expectations for their current online classes.

*  Students will be provided feedback throughout the grading period.

*  If a student has not initially demonstrated understanding or grade level mastery, information will be shared around opportunities students may attempt to demonstrate mastery later.

*  In order to avoid credit recovery, throughout this process, we ask that students seek help from their teachers in areas that may be confusing, and continue to advocate toward their success.

Denver School of the Arts Remote Learning System Student Expectations:

Regardless of which path chosen, all students will be expected to:

*  Continue to fully engage and participate in the remote learning process.

*  To complete all assignments. If the class is being transcripted for a grade, the teacher will indicate the grading process and how assessments will be graded.

*  Engaged in online group chats / activities when assigned by the teacher.

*  Track progress consistently and closely, while advocating for their success in each class.

*  Frequently communicate with teachers, counselors, or other school staff members, when experiencing difficulties associated with remote learning.

*  Advocate for support needed toward their success as a student.

For High School students considering the credit / no credit option, we would like you to please consider the following factors when making a decision regarding the credit / no credit model:

*  Students who are enrolled in weighted classes will want to carefully consider the impact on their Grade Point Average (GPA) if the class is taken as a Credit / No Credit.As you contemplate the credit / no credit model, please understand Higher Education institutions review individual student transcripts and make their decisions how a credit / no credit grade is factored into their admission requirements. If you have a question regarding the impact of this decision, please reach out to your counselor for support and clarification.

*  For the graduating class of 2020, valedictorian and salutatorian will be calculated based on the GPA at the end of 7th semester, December 2019.

*  Concurrent Enrollment courses taken for college credit will be graded based upon the criteria of the credit-granting institution.

*  Students who choose to receive letter grades for their courses will continue to be graded in accordance with Denver Public Schools grading matrix. The letter grade earned at the end of the semester will be reflected on the student’s transcript for those courses.

In addition, please understand, the grades students earned in each course as of April 6, 2020 (the day before our first week of remote learning), will be the lowest possible grades they can receive for this semester — as long as students continue to engage in learning in accordance with our school’s remote learning plan. 

As we roll out this new grading process we do understand there may still be some questions. After a choice has been established whether to proceed as credit / no credit or transcripted grades, we ask that students begin with their teacher for clarification around expectations and procedures. In addition, the administrative team will continue to solicit your input to answer questions as well as use this information toward improving our process. As previously indicated, we will provide you with updates as we receive them. It is our hope that each day brings more stability and resolve during these very difficult and uncertain times.

As always, we hope you all are happy, healthy, and safe. Our thoughts and best wishes are with you. Regardless of our situation, we will get through this together. On behalf of the entire administrative team, DSA staff, and Denver Public Schools, the administrative team and I would like to send all families continued well wishes! Moreover, thank you for your continued patience, understanding, and support as we continue to improve the remote learning experience. Please don’t hesitate to contact your student’s teachers or any member of the staff with additional questions you may have.

“Some days, doing ‘the best we can’ may still fall short of what we would like to be able to do, but life isn’t perfect on any front-and doing what we can with what we have is the most we should expect of ourselves or anyone else.” Fred Rogers

All the best,
Anthony McWright