Santa Maria Joint Unified High School District officials announced Thursday they will implement a credit/no credit grade policy for the Spring Semester of 2020.
The decision was made after consulting with the California Department of Education (CDE), guidance from the UC/CSU collegiate systems, collaborating with the Santa Barbara County Education Office (SBCEO), surrounding districts, the site Principals, Department Chairs, and teachers.
According to a press release, the essential philosophy for this decision is clearly stated by the CDE and asserts that whatever grade/credit policy districts may adopt must 'hold students harmless' as a result of this dramatic disruption to their education.
The UC/CSU systems have adapted their admissions policies to accept 'Credit' on transcripts with no Grade Point Average loss or penalty.
Below is a descriptive list of how the SMJUHSD Credit/No Credit policy will be implemented:
1. Student grades/credits will be frozen as of March 13th, the last day of regular classes before the closure. This will constitute the 'baseline' for student grades going forward. Student work conducted after the March 13th closure can only improve a student's standing, not harm it. There are a multitude of factors within a household environment that we cannot control and can negatively impact many of our student's abilities to perform in this environment, and they must not be assigned punitive grades as a result.
2. Students who were receiving passing grades of 'D' or better (in line with SMJUHSD Administrative Regulation: AR 5121) will be assigned a 'Credit' value for that course on their transcript.
3. Students who were receiving a grade below the 'D' threshold may complete assignments given to them by their teachers (as determined by each individual teacher/course) to raise their grade to 'Credit' status.
4. Students may choose to earn a 'letter grade' and will be allowed to do so, in consultation with the individual teacher and with the parent/guardian. If circumstances (sickness, family considerations, etc.) necessitate a change, they may revert to default credit status.
5. Allan Hancock College concurrent courses, as well as College Board AP courses, have different credit requirements and will be addressed with those individual teachers and students.
6. Distance teaching and learning will mean adjustments for both teacher and student. Teachers will need to adapt their lessons to this environment, and students will need to engage and adapt to these as well.
7. Teachers will provide daily work for students via online platforms such as Canvas, Aeries, Google Classroom and email. Assignments will be monitored and assessed with appropriate feedback provided. A sample schedule for class periods and office hours will be provided to prevent conflicts between scheduled online interactions.
8. Students will be expected to respond to their teachers and complete assignments on a daily basis. This is necessary for academic growth, preparation for next year and a return to traditional instruction.
9. Contact will be maintained through staff and student surveys to provide data on student participation so appropriate outreach can be made.
District officials say they believe a 'Credit/No Credit' policy provides their students the assurance that although this crisis has interrupted their educational process, it will not harm them, nor derail their learning.