CSD Updates Plan on Academic Year, Assessments, Grades

Backlash against the districts reopening plans culminated in a letter to the board.

Backlash against the district’s reopening plans culminated in a letter to the board.

On April 13 and 14 respectively, Decatur High School’s School Leadership Team (SLT) and City Schools of Decatur School Board held public meetings arranging plans to shorten the academic school year and report grades and assessments during online schooling. CSD also outlined changes to meal pickup schedules.

With a 4-1 vote, the school board voted to end the school year a week before the pre-COVID end date. The new end dates for the 2019-2020 academic year are May 15 for Seniors and May 22 for non-seniors. 

Until the new end dates, online education will proceed similar to week one of mandatory online learning. Teachers will continue to provide instruction on a four day rotation, allowing Friday as a day to catch up and check in. Following April 17, teachers will also be expected to provide students with opportunities to interact with them face to face at least once a week. This can take the form of scheduled 1 to 1 appointments, small group appointments or large Q&A sessions. 

CSD also finalized the grading system for students. Students will receive a pre-closure grade comprising of all assessments completed before the suspension of in-person schooling. Assessments with scheduled retakes that were disrupted by the closure will not affect students pre-closure grade. Decatur High School Seniors will receive their pre-closure grade April 17 and non-seniors will receive their pre-closure grades April 22. 

Final pre-closure grades will not be able to decrease during online schooling. Instead, throughout the year, students will have the opportunity to increase their final grade by one point by meeting certain requirements for work completion and quality. To qualify for the grade boost, students must meet all deadlines for online learning, complete all evidence of learning assignments to “an appropriate level of quality,” determined by each of their teachers, and miss no more than two online quick checks with their teachers, according to an email from principal Wesley Hatfield. Teachers will assign pass fail ‘evidence of learning’ assignments in place of summative assessments for the duration of the school year. Students who have incomplete work from weeks one and two of mandatory online learning will receive emails from their teacher prompting them to complete their assignments. Students taking Dual Enrollment, Georgia Virtual School, and other external programs must adhere first to the guidelines and requirements of that course.

Due to “decreased demand,” CSD will also be transitioning to meal pick-ups three times a week on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays according to the April 15 CSD Update. Extra meals will be available to pick up Monday and Wednesday to compensate. CSD is also investigating the possibility of a second distribution site that is located on the College Ave. side of the tracks, according to the email.