Guilford County Schools students will not receive letter grades during distance learning

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GREENSBORO, N.C. – With schools closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, Guilford County Schools issued guidelines today to inform the grading process for the remainder of the school year for grades K-5, 6-8, 9-11 and 12, according to a news release from the school system.

For schools that follow the Traditional Academic Calendar, the end of the third quarter has been moved up to Friday, March 13, the last day students attended school prior to closure. Grades will be assigned for third quarter based on assignments and tests students have already completed.

During the fourth quarter, remote learning, students can earn a grade of “pass” by completing assignments online. Letter grades will not be used in keeping with the guidance issued by the North Carolina State Board of Education due to inequitable access to technology and connectivity across the state. However, teachers will provide feedback on assignments, noting them as complete, incomplete or missing. To earn a grade of “pass” for the fourth quarter, students will need to complete all assignments online.

“Our goal is to help prevent learning loss and help students gain the knowledge and skills they’ll need to complete their schoolwork this year,” said Whitney Oakley, chief academic officer, in the news release.

The district’s grading guidance is available on district and school websites. GCS parents should contact their children’s school immediately if their children do not have devices for online learning, or if they need assistance with logging onto Canvas, the district’s online learning management system.

Since schools were closed, GCS has distributed more than 13,501 laptops and tablets to students, and has added 16 mobile hotspots to school parking lots so students can download online lessons and assignments. Students are then able to complete the work at home, returning to the “hotspot” when they’re ready to submit their work to their teachers.

“We are doing everything we can to support our students and their families during this unprecedented time of distance learning,” said Superintendent Sharon L. Contreras in the news release, noting that new research is indicating that students may lose as much as 50% of what they’ve learned this school year without ongoing academic engagement.

District data shows that about 88.7% of GCS students have logged online since Governor Roy Cooper closed schools effective March 16 in response to the coronavirus pandemic. This means 11.3% or 6,999 students K-12 have not yet logged in.

“I cannot stress enough how important it is that we work together to keep our students engaged and focused on learning,” Contreras said. “The pandemic is revealing longstanding inequities that go way beyond what our public schools can address, and while I’m very proud of what our employees, students and partners have accomplished in such a short period of time, we cannot lose sight of the overwhelming impact this is having and will continue to have on students and their families for years to come.”

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