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The Forum:

Please note: All letters submitted to The Forum are subject to editing by the publisher at his discretion. Editing will be done in regards to length, clarity, grammar, libel and good taste. The existence of this page does not give any letter writer free rein to publish anything that does not meet submission standards. This policy is in keeping with sound and longstanding journalism practices.

At O-M, to Elementary School families

Elementary Families,

As we continue to work through the current situation of school buildings being closed, we are making decisions on assessment of student learning while keeping focused on the overall well-being of the children in our school community.

The grades that elementary students received up through the second trimester that ended on March 13, 2020 will be each student’s final direct instruction numerical grade. Although we expect students to continue to progress in their learning at home through the end of the school year, we will not be assessing students with numerical grades during the New York State On Pause executive order from Governor Cuomo. We believe that this would not be fair or appropriate, due to the amount of variability between households.

Numerical grades for the final trimester will not be populated in our grading system or on report cards. All students will “transfer” to the next grade level and receive a “T” on their report card.

Work that has been completed to this point and has not been turned in electronically will be collected next week and new work will be available for pick-up. Your child’s teacher should have communicated if new work packets need to be picked up at this time. Work drop-off and pick-up times for next week are as follows:

Monday, May 18: from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Tuesday, May 19: from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Wednesday, May 20: from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.-7 p.m.

Please put return work that is being dropped off in a bag with your child’s name and grade on it. Future work drop-off times are scheduled for May 21st-June 10th from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Although numerical grades will not be assigned for work completed from March 13 through the end of the year, this work will be assessed by teachers and used as guidance for placement of students for next year. We will put an emphasis on data collection to guide instruction moving forward.

Most importantly, when we return to school, elementary staff will focus on raising the spirits of our young student population. We know that students will need to feel happy and safe about being at school. Though there will be academics and catch-up, we will put a heavy emphasis on making students smile, reintroducing structure/routine and reassuring them that elementary staff cares for them, missed them and are here for them.

James Nolan
Principal, B.C. Cate Elementary

Rob Francischelli
Principal, Hanlon Elementary


At O-M, to secondary school families

Dear parents and students:

As we continue through this unprecedented school closure period, the administration and staff have been deliberating over a fair and appropriate way to assess a student’s learning during the closure in an effort to calculate a student’s final grade. The plan we have developed will result in a blended score, utilizing the overall average for the first 26 weeks of school and supplementing that grade with a participation/effort score for the final 14 weeks, during which schools were closed.

The average from the first 26 weeks, when a student was in school, will be the “foundational grade.” This portion of the final grade is based on the completed four marking periods. Work from the final 14 weeks will be assessed and calibrated based on a satisfactory or unsatisfactory level of participation and effort. The higher the level of participation and effort during the final 14 weeks (not “grades” on assignments), the more positively a student’s final average in each class will be impacted.

Satisfactory participation: Student has done an excellent to a good job throughout the school closure. He/she has shown outstanding effort, completing the majority to all (65% to 100%) of assignments. (Pass)

Unsatisfactory Participation: Student has completed a minimal amount of work (0% to 64%) of work during the school closure. (Fail)

This blended final score model will be student friendly. Those who were passing at 26 weeks and continue to show effort in their work during the final 14 weeks will be fine. Those who weren’t passing at 26 weeks but are putting significant and exemplary effort in during the final 14 weeks, will likely pass for the year. However, students who were failing during the first 26 weeks and continue to show unsatisfactory effort will be in jeopardy of failing. The good news is that we still have time left for students to improve their participation in order to better their grade before the end of the school year.

Important notes:

--Students who were in Regents courses this year will receive credit for successful completion of the Regents exam if they pass the course. Students who do not pass the course will have to retake the failed class and will need to sit for the exam in the future.

--The only exceptions to this plan are TC3 and CCC concurrent enrollment courses (follow the college grading guidelines) and GST BOCES courses (following BOCES grading plans).

Almon M. McCarty Jr.
Jr/Sr High School Principal



© The Odessa File 2020
Charles Haeffner
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869

E-mail chaef@aol.com