Hart District adopts new grading policy

The William S. Hart Union High School District office
The William S. Hart Union High School District office

The William S. Hart Union High School District governing board adopted, with a 5-0 vote, a new grading policy for the entire district Wednesday, giving students the option to change how they’re graded and preventing them from receiving a “D” or “F.”

The proposed grading plan includes traditional “A,” “B,” and “C” grades, and credit/no-credit.

This plan provides an option for students to choose credit/no-credit grading, which would not be calculated into their grade point average.

The plan gives students what the district described as a “safety net” by limiting no-credit only to students who were failing a class prior to the end of March 20.

The district has also instructed teachers to not administer final exams, and teachers will only be allowed to give assignments at the end of the semester that can help students raise their grade, Superintendent Mike Kuhlman said.

Additionally, Bowman High School, Kuhlman said, has a different grading program and credit recovery system than comprehensive high schools, and therefore some Bowman students have fallen behind.

The board decided Wednesday night to reduce the amount of required elective credits by 10 for the 2019/2020 school year, which means current Bowman High School seniors will be required to earn 62.5 elective credits, and a total of 220 overall credits, in order to graduate.

Kuhlman said the district’s plan is in sync with its four goals: continued teaching/learning, holds students harmless, minimizes student failures and keeps students on track to graduate.

A Saugus High School parent, Gina Woltman, submitted a public comment via email on Wednesday in criticism of the new grading policy for the entire district. Woltman, a licensed clinical psychologist, said the combined traumas of fires, a shooting and COVID-19 meant that the trauma SCV students were dealing with should mean more leniency in terms of grades.

Woltman said the district should adopt the same policy as they had for Saugus shooting, where grades could only go up, and assignments only accounted for them, not against them.

“It also prevented students from failing,” said Woltman in the letter. “The policy recognized that each student’s experience was unique yet they were all experiencing some level of trauma symptoms.”

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