Grace. This word has become a mantra for me and for my leadership team over the last three weeks. It defines how I expect all of our employees to always treat students, parents and each other, and especially so in this challenging time.
To ensure this grace is extended to all students and their families, today I’m issuing specific guidance to our Principals and teachers outlining expectations for grading.
We do not want learning at home to be stressful for students or their families. We know many of you are juggling online work for your own job or are struggling because you have lost your job. We know it’s hard to find workspaces for everyone and to share technology. We know this is unlike anything any of us have ever experienced.
Our goal is to reduce the need for remedial education when our schools reopen, so our teachers will continue providing lessons and testing mastery. When considering final grades, teachers will take into account how students were performing prior to the school closures. Before a student is given a failing grade, a teacher will give the student more help and the opportunity to resubmit work. If a student is not completing work, a teacher will reach out to his or her parents to check on their situation. We will not retain a student from advancement to the next grade or from graduation when we can determine the student was attempting, but unable to overcome hardships created by the school closure. We will extend grace.
This is the first of many decisions to be made as a result of the Governor’s closure of schools for the remainder of the school year. After Spring Break, I will be asking the School Board to approve plans for alternative graduation ceremonies and whether to end the school year earlier than May 28. My leadership team and I also will be taking a closer look at how much online work students are asked to complete each day, and whether adjustments are needed. I want your input on all of these decisions and will be sending you a brief online survey on Thursday, April 9; please complete the survey by Sunday, April 12.
We are continuously updating resources on our webpage at https://www.cherokeek12.net/content/bulletin-board We will continue our #CCSDserves to-go meal distribution on Mondays, including during Spring Break; the schedule is at http://bit.ly/CCSDserves We have received more than $70,000 in donations to support this project, which is greatly appreciated as the cost is $100,000 a week; while we will receive some federal reimbursement, we will not receive any for the Spring Break service. If you want to help, please consider sending a check, making an online payment or transferring your child’s unused meal account funds; details are online at http://bit.ly/CCSDserves
We miss your children and care about them – and you – and hope you have a wonderful Spring Break.
Thank you for everything,
Dr. Brian V. Hightower
Superintendent of Schools
NOTE: Thank you to Hickory Flat ES teachers for the photo posted above.