Distance Learning Update for April 24, 2020
April 24, 2020
Dear SCSD Parents and Guardians,
Week five of distance learning is complete! At this point, the days seem to be flying by, and yet, we still do not know what the future holds, what our summer looks like, let alone fall and the beginning of the next school year. What we do know is that you are doing a wonderful job with your children, you are putting forth the effort, figuring things out with the teachers, and we continue to be so grateful for the ongoing partnership with the families in our District.
On Monday, Governor DeWine announced that school buildings will be closed for the remainder of the school year and that education will continue through distance learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our teachers long to see our students and we know there are several little ones at home who wish they could be back in the classroom with their teachers. As we continue on in our distance learning journey, once again, we will execute the next steps, make new student work packets, continue to enhance our offerings through Google Classroom, and explore additional ways to keep students engaged.
At this point, it is very important that you read weekly updates in their entirety, as we will continue to answer questions many of you have as we head into the final month of the 2019-20 school year.
Student Grades and GPA
To best address our current learning situation, the District recently updated the manner in which student learning will be monitored during distance learning. We are committed to minimizing the negative impact on students during the fourth quarter of the 2019-20 school year, as well as the overall negative impact of the school closure and the inequities caused by distance learning. Our stance on grading reflects the principle of “no harm to any child during the Coronavirus Pandemic.” Given diverse family situations, resources, levels of support, mental health, limits to digital access, the utilization of a traditional grading system during distance learning presents substantial inequities. Therefore, student grades should not be negatively impacted as a result of distance learning and the District determined that the following guidelines will be followed as it relates to the second semester GPA and final grade calculation:
- In the high school, the selection of Valedictorian and Salutatorian will be based off of the final GPA ranking as of March 17, 2020.
- Across the District, teachers in grades 1-12 will evaluate students as either Satisfactory (S) or Unsatisfactory (U) based on the criteria they have established within their courses. Kindergarten teachers will continue to evaluate student progress as outlined in the District communication initially distributed.
- All “S” grades will convert to a score of 100% and 4.0 quality points in a student’s GPA; those in Honors/AP/IB/CCP classes will have their Passing marks weighted accordingly (4.5 or 5.0). Final grade calculations will apply to a student’s GPA.
- Students with an “U” grade will be given an intervention plan and an opportunity to earn a “S” grade by early fall. More information will be forthcoming for those students receiving an “U.”
As schools across the country struggle with the same issues that we face each day, it is important to remember that this is an unprecedented event and no instruction manual exists. This crisis has truly magnified the diverse needs across our Springfield community connected to family situations, available resources, levels of support, mental health needs, and general access to learning. The decision to move to a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grading system for the 4th quarter allows the flexibility needed to assess 4th quarter learning that aligns with our beliefs.
I encourage you to read and reflect upon, To Grade or Not To Grade? by Joe Feldman found here. The article helps provide an overview of the rationale that supports our grading decision.
Student Work Packet Collection & New Packet Distribution
The first two student work packets are to be turned in at your child’s school building on one of the following dates and times:
- Wednesday, May 6 from 9:00 AM - 2:00 PM
- Thursday, May 7 from 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM
- Friday, May 8 from 9:00 AM - 2:00 PM
The final work packet for May 4 - May 26 will also be available at the above times and dates.
In order for students to receive credit for completed packets, each packet MUST have the following information written in legible print on the front cover:
- Updated parent contact information if available:
- Email address
- Telephone number
- Grades PK-8
- Student first and last name
- Teacher name
- Grades 9-12
- Student first and last name
- Student ID number
- Homeroom teacher name
Third Quarter Report Cards
Due to the ordered school closure, third quarter report cards were not sent home with students. Report cards can be accessed via ProgressBook. To sign up for parent access, please navigate here and look for the Springfield City Schools option. For parents/guardians who do not have the student access code that was mailed to homes earlier this year, please contact the technology hotline below for assistance.
Student Technology Hotline
Please remember that if you are in need of technical assistance, please contact the SCSD Student Technology Hotline. The Hotline number is 937-505-2909 and is staffed from 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM weekdays. Tech support is also available via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The longer that schools are closed and community members are without work, food assistance will continue to be in greater demand. The District is committed to assisting our students, ages 18 and younger during this time, and will continue to search for additional resources to allow for a weekly increase in the number of families served.
In a normal school year, our seniors would enjoy the last few months in Springfield with their friends, family, and teachers.
The District understands and empathizes with our seniors and their families regarding what has been lost: prom, spring sports, awards nights, senior only events, and most importantly, time in our schools with friends. Disappointment, sadness, and even anger is an expected reaction as we all work through the process of grieving lost experiences. And that is ok.
Our high school team is working diligently with the District to recognize our senior class and I encourage you to stay tuned for several senior “surprises.” Earlier this week, Lead Principal, Patrick Smith and I had a Google Meets conference call with several members of the senior class to discuss year-end events. After listening to student feedback, we are pleased to announce tentative details. The District has committed to two different events to honor the SHS Class of 2020.
- The District is committed to do everything in our power and within the confines of current direction from Governor DeWine to organize a senior celebration, to take a senior class picture and encourage recent grads to connect with classmates. The District is planning for the event to occur on Saturday, July 25, 2020, in the Springfield High School Stadium. Please save-the-date as further information will be provided to our Seniors as additional health restrictions are released.
- Plans have been made for the following, pending that no additional restrictions are put on schools and communities as it relates to social distancing. We believe our plan is safe for the current situation we are in, and look forward to providing a modified plan. Springfield High School's graduating seniors will walk across a stage set up in the SHS main gymnasium to accept their diplomas over the course of several days prior the the original graduation date, with a few modifications:
- Please note that families will remain in their cars. A phone number will be provided for families to alert District personnel that they have arrived for scheduled time.
- Families are not permitted to exit cars until notifying District personnel of their arrival and scheduled time.
- Social distancing guidelines will be followed, including: temperature checks of each family member and student before entering the school, a requirement for all persons entering the school to wear a mask (one will be provided if the individual does not have one), and appropriate distancing between families.
- The Marine JROTC Pledge of Allegiance
- A performance by a few members of the SHS Choir
- Recognition of the Valedictorian and Salutatorian
- Speeches from the Valedictorian, Salutatorian, and the Senior Class President, as well as other distinguished guests
- Senior Video
- Presentation of the Class
- During a selected period of time in early May that will be communicated soon, each senior and up to four family members (parents and/or legal guardians only) will have a scheduled time to report to the SHS Gymnasium. The ability to get all 450 students through this process will need to span over a few days, which explains the need for the District to assign a 15 minute window per student and their families to attend. Each senior will have a photo taken in their cap and gown by a professional photographer. The Springfield City School District will purchase an 8x10 photo for each student as a memoir.
- Video will be recorded of each student taking the traditional walk across the stage to receive his/her diploma. Those individual videos will be edited together into a full graduation ceremony, which may include:
- The video will be aired on some mixture of Facebook, YouTube, and Spectrum Channel 5 on May 30, 2020, at 10:00 AM, which is the original graduation date and time. Students will be able to watch graduation for the first time in the presence of family, and it will also be available to the Springfield community and any out-of-town family members. A copy of the video will be provided to each senior.
- In order to honor our seniors, we ask that you email a senior picture, or one of your liking if you do not have senior photos taken yet, to email@example.com by 9pm on Wednesday, April 29. In addition, please indicate the student’s name, what college/university your graduate plans to attend, what military branch in which they have enlisted, what company they are employed by post-graduation, or simply undecided if your Senior is still making plans. With 450 students in the Class of 2020, it is important that you submit photos quickly.
Again, as details continue to be finalized, you and your graduating senior will continue to get additional details regarding these special events. Cooperation from families will be very important in order to accomodate state regulations.
Parent Updates & Other Important Information
Please continue to visit the SCSD website at www.scsdoh.org for updates to the COVID-19 school closure.
Today’s video update highlights our progress with distance learning. Please continue to work with our team, be patient, and help us meet the needs of your family.
In closing, I ask you to take a deep breath with me. Our world has changed for the time being, but hope springs eternal with each new day. Focus on the positives during this unprecedented time and we will get through this together. Take care of yourself and your loved ones and remember that we are #InThisTogetherWildcats.
Robert F. Hill, Ed.D.