Continuity of Learning Updates, May 22, 2020
May 22nd, 2020
Update: May 27 to the senior report card information
The following update was sent to the HCPSS community by Superintendent Michael Martirano on May 22, 2020:
I want to extend congratulations to HCPSS students who have recently been honored with national or state awards. I’m extremely proud of the two student teams from Mt. Hebron High School who recently won dual national championships for the second straight year at the National Economics Challenge. Two HCPSS students have earned national recognition as U.S. Presidential Scholars. I also congratulate each of our 17 students whose stellar achievement at the state level has earned them a place at the virtual National History Day Competition next month, as well as those who earned special awards. Also worthy of recognition are the 20 HCPSS students who have been named winners so far in the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program.
Summer 2020 Online Programming
Summer learning experiences are valuable in helping students stay engaged and maintain skills over the summer break. In compliance with state and local guidelines, all HCPSS 2020 summer programs will be offered online, with some courses being modified or canceled. Detailed information about updated summer program offerings, course withdrawal, and how to process payment or request refunds are provided online. Parents/guardians of students enrolled in a summer program course that has been canceled or modified will receive specific details from the program office.
- Diploma Distribution: Diploma distribution for the Class of 2020 will take place on Thursday, May 28 for Mt. Hebron, Reservoir, River Hill and Wilde Lake high schools, and on Monday, June 1 for Atholton (rescheduled from May 28), Centennial, Glenelg, Hammond, Howard, Long Reach, Marriotts Ridge and Oakland Mills high schools.
On these dates, schools will distribute diplomas and any senior belongings left at school before the extended school closure. Items belonging to the school, such as textbooks, athletic equipment, and music instruments, should also be returned at this time. Each school will provide families with specific times and other details by the afternoon of Tuesday, May 26. Staff will wear gloves and masks during distribution and collection, and seniors and their families are also asked to wear masks and comply with social distancing and other guidelines provided by the school.
- Report Cards (Updated May 27): Senior grades will be available electronically by June 5 and transcripts will be available electronically in mid-June.
- Senior Dues Refunds: Several high schools give seniors the opportunity to pay class dues at the beginning of the year to cover the cost of senior year events that typically occur throughout the year. All of the schools who collected senior class dues are preparing to issue refunds for money collected for any events that did not occur this year due to the extended school closure.
- Meal plan refunds: Refunds for any graduating seniors who have money on their meal accounts will be processed using the “Transfer and Refund Request” form. Instructions and a link to the form will be emailed to parents of 12th grade students, who may choose from three options:
- Transfer funds to a sibling.
- Donate to the Emergency Meal Fund.
- Request a refund request. Refunds will be processed within 4–6 weeks.
Because final exams were cancelled this year, high school final course grades for the 2019–2020 school year will be calculated using a 9-point, rather than 10-point system, based on grades earned during the quarter grading periods and the midterm exam. The grade ranges used to assign final letter grades have been modified, to avoid unintentionally penalizing students who might have earned a higher grade through strong performance on a final exam. More information about final grades for all grade levels is provided on our website.
Celebrating our 5th and 8th Graders
Spring is the time of year when we look forward to celebrating milestones with our 5th and 8th grade students as they prepare to move up to middle or high school. This year’s celebrations have required creativity to honor and recognize our students while complying with social distancing. We are very fortunate that our school PTAs have been excited and eager to partner with schools to highlight our students and help make them feel special. Many PTAs plan to purchase yard signs to celebrate 5th and 8th graders, and we welcome these efforts. In order to highlight and honor our graduating seniors, we ask that PTAs display 5th and 8th grade yard signs after June 10, once all virtual graduations are complete.
4th Quarter Grading and Attendance
As a reminder, we are using modified practices for grading and attendance during continuity of learning. Regular and active participation is the key to student achievement and growth, whether in the traditional classroom setting or during distance learning. At the same time, we recognize the pressures and challenges that students and parents may be facing due to family circumstances, availability of technology and other factors. Please know that our priority is to provide meaningful documentation and feedback about student achievement and participation, while never penalizing any student for factors that are outside their control.
I appreciate the patience and support of our parents, staff and students as our system adjusts and adapts to the many challenges inherent to providing continuity of learning, especially for our most vulnerable students. Please know that we continue to work to improve continuity of learning for all students, including those receiving special education services, English language learners and others with special needs. As parents, teachers and students are only too well aware, there are many challenges inherent to providing distance learning, which – despite teachers’ best efforts – cannot replicate the learning that students experience in the classroom. These challenges are even more acute when servicing students with special needs. We appreciate your feedback, support and collaboration in this process.
I hope this Memorial Day weekend gives you opportunities to relax, unwind and enjoy time with your loved ones.
Upcoming Public Hearings
Due to the COVID–19 pandemic, Board meetings are currently held virtually, live on the HCPSS website and on Comcast 95/Verizon 42. Community members wishing to testify should register online using the following links. Specific instructions on testifying virtually will be emailed to each registrant prior to the public hearing. Learn more about pre-registration and testimony. The following hearings are scheduled for the Thursday, June 11, 2020, 7 p.m. virtual Board meeting:
- Policy 1080 Educational Equity. Register
- Policy 8080 Responsible Use of Technology. Register
- Policy 8100 Field Trips. Register
Chinese Language Courses
All students who requested high school Chinese language courses for 2020–21 will be offered enrollment in a class. Some classes will be offered synchronously, depending on the level of enrollment at each school. More information on synchronous video instruction is provided online.
- Scheduling Adjustments for Week of May 25: Schools and offices will be closed on Monday, May 25, 2020 in observance of Memorial Day. Distance learning schedules will be adjusted for the week to accommodate this school closure day. Detailed scheduling information for all grade levels are provided online.
- Use of Outdoor Facilities: HCPSS tracks and tennis courts are now open and available for use by community members, who must adhere to social distancing guidelines. Basketball courts and playgrounds remain closed. Find details online.
- Virtual Graduation Schedule: Virtual commencement events for the HCPSS Class of 2020 will take place June 4–9. Each graduation event will stream online at www.hcpss.org. Archived videos will be available to view online soon after each ceremony’s end. HCPSS also will broadcast the celebrations on HCPSS TV cable channels 42 (Verizon) and 95 (Comcast). Find the schedule and more information.