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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.

Graduating Seniors

Final Grades

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.

Additional Updates

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:

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.