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Shanda  Herrera
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April 2021

Hello Panthers!

The grading period ends this Friday, April 23rd. I want to remind you of a district message that was sent three weeks ago explaining how teachers have the option (It is individual teacher decision) to change students' poor 1st semester grades to reflect higher 2nd semester grades. Our hope is that you will put in your very best effort these next few days to get your grades up. The end of the semester is almost here!

District Message


You may be aware that the Board of Education for the Santa Maria Joint Union HS District passed a Resolution last month that approved a ‘grade validation’ policy for the Spring semester of 2021. The policy states that students can have a lower fall semester grade improved or replaced if the student earns a higher grade in the spring semester. The policy is in part a recognition of the fact that last Fall (August-December) was a very tough time. We were all adapting and growing in the ‘distance learning’ environment but it was rough going for much of that time and we saw a dramatic increase in the number of ‘F’ grades being assigned beginning with the first progress report grades in September. As we struggled to adapt to distance learning, many students fell behind and never recovered, even though grades in general improved a lot between September and December when the Fall semester ended. The policy is intended to motivate students to focus and work harder this spring. For instance, if you struggled in a class last fall and earned an ‘F’, but things are going better for you now and you are working hard and keeping up you might earn an ‘A’ this semester. The policy is designed so that the ‘A’ you earned in the spring would either replace or improve the ‘F’ from the fall. The policy will likely impact some, but not all, of your classes.

It is important for students to understand that although many teachers agree with this concept and policy, not all teachers do. It is entirely the decision of the teacher to assign your grade, and that authority is protected by the law (the California Education Code). Because that authority exists the District has provided teachers with several options for how they wish to implement the policy. They may choose to have ALL lower fall grades replaced if higher spring grades are earned. They may choose to have NO lower fall grades replaced. Or they may choose to have SOME fall grades replaced. It is okay for you to ask your individual teachers how they intend to apply the policy, but you must respect their decision and the authority behind it even if you don’t like the answer.

It is the hope of our Board of Education that you will finish up the year strong, working hard, and doing your best. Your teachers are professionals who care about you and usually are very generous about rewarding motivation and effort. Give your best effort this spring as we close out the year, and it may have a positive impact on your overall grades.