How Do I Claim My ‘A’ And Call It A Year

How do I claim my ‘A’s in my classes and call it good for the school year right now?

Yesterday, DeKalb Schools released an End-Of-Year Guide explainging how the district plans on wrapping up the 2019-2020 school year. In addition to a modified calendar and end of year activities, it explained final grade calculations.

1st – 11th Grades – Final Grade Calculations
Teachers will calculate each student’s final grade after evaluating which option is higher.
• Option A – Use the grade as of March 13, 2020 as the semester final grade
• Option B – Use the grade as of March 13, 2020 and the virtual learning assignments to calculate the semester final grade

If a student has earned an “A” as of March 13th, the grade is archived. Any virtual learning assignments will be graded and can only improve a student’s grade. Administrators will receive the procedures for teachers to access the archived grades within the next week. During a scheduled student and/or parent conference, a teacher will be able to share a student’s archived grade. In the meantime, a parent and student may access the current grade including virtual learning assignments through Infinite Campus.

Parents who would like to see their student’s grade as of March 13th which was the 9-week grading period, can log into Infinite Campus Parent Portal. Once parents log into parent portal, click on the course and then click on term 2-1 and you will see the 9-week average.

My most frequently asked question from parents and students: How do I claim my March 13th ‘A’ and be done with the school year in that class?

Some of the heartfelt responses from teachers include:

This is a great opportunity to improve grades!!! Teachers are working hard on lesson plans and to try to help kids with virtual assignments!! I’m trying my hardest as a mom and as a teacher! Don’t throw in the towel!!!!


I am doing three things in my classes, and it is exhausting! For those who were failing at 9 weeks, I have to find a way to give them an opportunity to raise their grade and pass. For those who want to be prepared for the future, I have to find a way to make sure they have an opportunity to learn all they should learn. And for those who just want a bump, to turn that C into a B or that B into an A, I have to have a mechanism that fairly allows that. But I expect (quite reasonably) that most of my students are going to disappear. And I will miss them a great deal…

Stacy Stepney is the Chief Academic Officer at DeKalb Schools. She has some thoughts for students who would like to call it a year.

Stacy Stepney DeKalb Schools

STACY STEPNEY
DeKalb Schools – Chief Academic Officer

All students are encouraged to continue learning the content standards and skills in each course until school ends. Some courses cover pre-requisite content and skills that serve as a foundation for future courses in areas such as mathematics, science, world languages, and English language arts.

Scenario:
A student has earned an 87% in an AP, IB, or dual enrollment class. The 87% is weighted as an “A” because the student receives 4 quality points when the grade point average is calculated in DCSD. If the student continues to submit virtual learning assignments, the student may increase his/her class average to 90%, which is truly an “A” that receives 5 quality points when the grade point average is calculated in DCSD.

When the student’s HOPE grade point average is calculated, the weighting is removed and re-calculated by HOPE’s formula. The high school grade point average is not the same as the HOPE grade point average.

Many scholarship opportunities use the weighted grade point average as a qualifier as reflected in the scenario above. One factor that determines the valedictorians, salutatorians, and top 10% graduates is the weighted grade point average. Also, a student’s grade point average in core area subjects is considered during the gifted eligibility process.

If a student has earned an “A” as of March 13th, the grade is archived. Any virtual learning assignments will be graded and can only improve a student’s grade. Administrators will receive the procedures for teachers to access the archived grades within the next week. During a scheduled student and/or parent conference, a teacher will be able to share a student’s archived grade. In the meantime, a parent and student may access the current grade including virtual learning assignments through Infinite Campus.

STACY STEPNEY
Chief Academic Officer

33 responses to “How Do I Claim My ‘A’ And Call It A Year

  1. I’m highly concerned that my high school student will not be able to pass Algebra. They were struggling prior to mar 13, and there has been little support to help them get content comprehension through virtual learning. Not to mention the # of assignments has greatly reduced making it even harder to improve a grade. What is being done to give these kids a fair chance?
    It would be nice to hear what support is there to help the kids who are struggling rather than only talk about the kids who have A’s

  2. MathIsHard, Thanks for joining the conversation. I’m happy to engage all the issues that are before us. As you can imagine, there is a myriad of hurdles for many students across the district to learn virtually. This is obviously unchartered territory and the teachers are working to bridge the gaps. Students struggling with virtual learning should contact their teacher and/or principal with specific their issues. Please let me know if your teacher or principal are not able to ameliorate the issue. –Stan

  3. Stan why didn’t you apply for the Superintendent position?
    Please take over the district and apply the brilliant and vigilant leadership as you always do in helping our students.

    Your passion and dedication exudes quality and accountability across the board. What are you waiting for?
    If you’re not interested, at least advocate for the state to takeover until it’s a clean and dreadful reboot.

  4. I have been so impressed with the Interim Superintendent. She is really detail oriented and is helping to improve things within the district. Her professionalism is to be admired. I think the plans presented will be beneficial in closing out the school year.

  5. Speaking of supers, what’s up with the search for a new superintendent?

  6. Stephanie Hillhouse

    What would be really helpful to know is how the virtual assignments will be weighted. My kids are doing all of their assignments and getting pretty good grades on most of them but it’s barely moving the needle on their grade in the class. This doesn’t do much to encourage them to keep going and trying to bring them up.

  7. There should be an update on the superintendent search in the next few weeks.

    You should ask your teacher about any weighting for the virtual assignments. My kids’ teachers have been very responsive to questions.

    I’m not aware of any special weighting.

  8. Weary Educator

    Mr. Jester,
    Let’s revisit Google Classroom vs Verge again.
    Why did Verge “crash”?
    What happened that the district had to open up Google Classroom to Teachers and Students?
    Why did DCSD have students access to Microsoft TEAMS then restrict access to this platform only to provide access again after spring break?
    Why are we so ill prepared as a district.
    When are we going to have an honest conversation about what instructors truly need in order to be an effective educator in this technological age?

  9. Please, by all means, tell us what instructors truly need in order to be effective educators.

    To answer some of your questions … I’m guessing the Verge platform wasn’t ready for the amount of online traffic from the shelter at home orders nationwide. I believe Google Classroom went down at least once as well.

    I’ve been pushing for years for the the teachers to have access to Google Classroom again. Derrick Brown is the schools new CIO and is friendly to Google Classroom. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the efforts of a number of teachers and principals who pushed for access to Google was well.

    Teams vs Zoom vs Google Hangouts. My understanding is that video chats must be secure to comply with FERPA security laws. Zoom is expensive and I’m not sure google hangouts is secure. I’m not privy to all the reasons TEAMS was selected.

    I don’t think anybody was prepared for two straight months of virtual learning. I don’t think anybody was prepared for the situation we find ourselves in.

  10. I am a DeKalb High School teacher and I was able to get a free/unlimited Zoom subscription. The Zoom platform is the one that I prefer. I find the Teams to be chunky and not that easy to use (like most of the MS Office products). Google meets also has some strange settings that don’t work well for what I am doing. So, if you want to try Zoom:

    https://zoom.us/education

    You must use your Dekalb email to get “verified” by Zoom.

  11. HS Teacher Too

    I hope the District is in conversation and preparation for virtual learning for the fall. I can’t imagine it will be safe to return to the schools, especially a school like DHS where we are extremely overcrowded.

  12. HS Teacher Too. I was told yesterday that the district is starting to train the teachers to use communication technology like zoom and teams so the teachers can start having class over zoom/teams. I’m hoping the school district is constantly improving their ability to educate online.

  13. Frustrated & Weary Educator

    Were Teachers consulted when this decision was made? I think not.
    Had Teachers been consulted we would have told the powers that be “our students will STOP working”. They have no reason to continue.
    Teachers have been developing lessons for students and learning new delivery methods for four weeks (some of us worked over spring break), only to be informed after the other stakeholders (parents & students) that the school year is ending early and that our work during the pandemic is for naught.
    DCSD failed to communicate in any of the correspondence that “All students are encouraged to continue learning the content standards and skills in each of their courses until school ends.” What was communicated is “it’s okay to quit” This is another example of the top down decision making that lacks insight into the long term effects this will have on many of our students.
    Lastly there is no guarantee that schools will return in August, Boston College just suspended their fall on campus semester. Although DCSD is not a private institution, it does not know what the future holds and this is a wasted opportunity for students to learn perseverance and how to overcome adversity.

  14. Relieved Parent

    1) We fully appreciate the hard work of everyone involved. DCSD’s previous experiments with virtual learning during weather events provided some preparation for everyone. It’s not great, but judging from what I’ve seen elsewhere, I think we’ve been in better shape than many.

    2) I’m sure teachers are frustrated, but as a parent I’m quite relieved with the hold harmless decision. It’s fair for those who do not have access to technology, and it’s fair to those with learning disabilities who cannot receive sufficient services as required by their IEP.

    3) As someone who consults in IT, works regularly with people around the world, and has facilitated workshops on working with distributed teams, I can say that Zoom is the market leader for a good reason and that I know very few, if any, people who prefer Teams when given a choice. It appears that Zoom is FERPA compliant and currently free for education, as others have pointed out. However, there are steps to securing any online meeting, and it’s easy for an end user to overlook those (and then the provider gets the blame); and yes, Zoom has also made a couple of very poor architecural decisions. https://zoom.us/docs/doc/FERPA%20Guide.pdf

    4) Did the teachers know this was coming before Spring Break? I had hear rumors, so I’d be surprised if they didn’t. I really wish my children’s teachers had made use that time to update grades in Inifinite Campus. We cannot tell what the grades were as of that date for most of my 2 children’s courses.

    5) There are a few half-semester classes which started right around that time. What happens to those?

    Thank you!

  15. While I understand Frustrated & Weary Educator’s concerns, I want to assure you that many students and families value learning and will not simply quit under this new grading system. I agree with Relieved Parent that this is the fair option for those without online access or who believe it does not provide what their 504 plan or IEP requires. For the rest of us, it should be obvious that students who skip material that should be learned this year will pay the price when they move on to the next level of math/foreign language/ELA. We’ve told our kids that they are lucky that for the first time in their school careers they don’t have grades hanging over their heads, so without that anxiety they have a unique opportunity to just learn for the sake of learning.

  16. Relieved Parent,
    What are ‘half-semester classes?’ Are these in high school? I’m curious to know about this option because I’ve never heard about it in my cluster.
    Thanks!

  17. Zoom for Education is expensive. It’s $90 per year per person (https://zoom.us/buy?plan=education&from=education). Zoom is currently waiving fees for districts that apply for it, but I’m confident that won’t last long. DeKalb Schools already has a Microsoft 360 ecosystem. Teams Audio and Video conference licenses are $11 per year per person. Personally, I’m a SLACK guy for messaging and video conferencing … which is cheaper than teams for private companies. But … Georgia has a contract with Microsoft which makes Teams cheaper for the school district than what my company can pay for SLACK.

  18. Ramona named permanent???

    Wow – what a joke. So you’re (the board) giving Ramona a permanent status. I guess that’ll give her that bigger check when she retires in June – which is what, two months away? Why in the world was this decision made? Even in times of need, DeKalb is DeKalb.
    To anyone thinking ANY board member needs to be super (yes Trina I’m talking to you) – you’re crazy. The whole system needs to implode, board removed, central office fired.
    What a freakin’ joke. You really can’t make this shit up.

  19. Mentalhealth

    What about the kids who are now suffering medical issues due to being isolated?
    How do you reach out to a teacher and say, how can my kid learn content and pass a class when I can barely get them out of bed?
    The impacts of this on our teenage population are significant. I know I can’t be the only parent worried about my kid and depression, let along getting promoted to the next grade

  20. The Board of Education is giving Ramona Tyson the permanent superintendent title. Her contract is still up in a few months.

  21. Relieved Parent

    Anonymous – my 8th grader has some half-semeseter classes. PE and Health, I believe are a couple of examples from this year. His intro to Spanish started right around the March 13 date.

    DeKalb Mom – I cannot imagine a scenario where the start of the 2020-2021 school year is not a bit more review than normal. So for some classes like, say, math, this is a chance to get ahead so that the skill can be reviewed in the fall. But for other classes like, say, science, where one course does not necessarily build on another, I’m honestly struggling to explain the value in “completing” the last 4 weeks of school. The same can be said for some Connections. Yes, I learn for the sake of learning, but the current configuration is sub-optimal for real learning at the moment. I suspect that with more time and preparation it can be better (a fair amount of my grad school was online, and that was early 2000s when platforms were absolutely dreadful).

    Stan – thanks for the update. Just to be clear, is that $11 per person for Teams per person in the entire system or just per educator? Only presenters require a pro Zoom license, so Zoom might come out to be cheaper than Teams for video conferencing. So then the question is whether the rest of Teams is being utilized enough to get value out of it, especially when there are so many other tools in play. (My client was asking us just yesterday to help them rationalize the tools they are using, so this is not an uncommon situation.) I’m not trying to undercut any leadership here, but I know a lot of people who are underwhelmed by Teams and yet forced to use it because of a dictate, and that’s a shame for everyone involved.

  22. The school district is still trying to figure out exactly what to do about 9 week courses. My son is in a couple of 9 week courses now. I believe March 13 was the end of the first 9 week period.

    $11/presenter… good question. That would be my assumption. We only purchased 7,100 licenses. That would only cover 3 or 4 high schools if it was for students and teachers. I believe teachers are permitted to use any FERPA compliant platform they choose. There is quite a bit of interest on this subject. I’ve asked the CIO and Chief Academic Officer to provide more information.

  23. Relieved Parent

    I’m positive there’s a lot of interest in this topic.

    At least one teacher told me they were told they could not use Zoom and could only use Teams, so there was a question about whether we could use Zoom for an extracurricular meeting.

    Concerning that $11/year – that’s interesting, as Microsoft’s site doesn’t publish anything with a rate similar to that, but a system of our size can probably work a good deal. It’s quite possible that the cost is to allow for dial-in calling to supplement the computer audio (which makes sense when bandwidth isn’t available or really constrained), and that might not even be from Microsoft itself and instead from another provide that is compatible with Microsoft.

    Very curious about those 9 week classes and would appreciate a public statement from the superintendent on that topic.

    Some parents are also concerned that they haven’t received a direct confirmation from their principal of the super’s message. As weird as that sounds, the message from one principal appears, on the face of the message, to contradict the superintendent’s message, so I can’t say I blame that parent.

  24. Fed Up Teacher

    Relieved Parent – To expect the teachers to update grades over Spring Break is absolutely insulting. No one was prepared to function virtually for the rest of the school year. All teachers, principals, and school staff needed that time to recuperate from everything that had just happened. Not to mention Spring Break fell during religious holidays for some. In addition, we had no clue Friday, March 13th would be our last day in our classroom for the rest of the school year. We were scrambling to figure out the game plan for the next couple of weeks. Many of us left teaching materials, lesson plans, books, curriculum, the list goes on, class pets, our favorite plants, the list goes on. We had no way of knowing what was to come. Please don’t get me started on expecting teachers to conduct Zoom calls all day long. Some people have very small children at home and this type of situation could turn into neglect. I agree, we need a system in place, but some of the things I’ve read in the last week from parents is shameful and lazy.

  25. dekalbteacher

    Relieved parent and Stan,

    We were told nothing about this grade change, as fed up teacher and frustrated and weary teacher also mention.

    We were never really told how to handle grades either, which is probably why Stephanie Hillhouse’s children aren’t seeing their grades move.

    It’s all well and good to contact the teachers when the teachers are the ones making decisions. We’re finding out about them after the fact and then pretty much told to figure it out. I can’t figure out the math in Stepney’s 87 becomes an A scenario, can you? Seems like a nice sentiment. Where does that stop? Do you want to be the teacher deciding what B is an A? Why even give grades then? The school district should make those decisions. It’s the only way to ensure fairness, if that’s what this is about.

    This is a difficult time for all. Unfortunately, the district’s inability to think things through, include teachers in things teachers are the only ones managing, and articulate things clearly doesn’t help. Maybe we shouldn’t have been rushing to get virtual learning going on March 13 without thinking about what we already knew. Lots of students would have no way to access what we call virtual learning. Maybe we shouldn’t have been posting without thinking about what those grades might look like in the limbo between grades earned at school and grades earned doing school. Maybe we should have received directions about how virtual activities correlated to grades and where those should go.

    One good thing about virtual learning? We teachers don’t have to cover classes anymore.

  26. I just wanted to speak to parents feeling like grades are barely moving. At one point, there was guidance that all virtual learning assignments go under the Assessment During Learning category (25% of total grade) rather than allow teachers to spread the assignments between ADL and Guided, Independent, Group Practice (45% of total grade). I have also heard that there are to be no final exams. Teachers are being told to expect to spend the first two weeks of next school year (whenever it begins) doing review of what was supposed to be covered during second semester of the previous year. Perhaps helpful for Math and ELA, but less so for Science and Social Studies, where the next year’s content is often very different from the previous year.

    If your student was doing well by March 13th, you are in the clear. If your child began the semester struggling, the onus is now on parents & students to try to improve grades at home. My high schooler has been struggling in one specific class all year (I asked to be changed out of the teacher’s class at the beginning and middle of the year with little to no response) and each time I asked the teacher for help, I was told to have my high schooler watch Khan Academy. My high schooler attended each after school tutorial that was provided while school was in session, so I understand the struggles for other parents at home trying to perform miracles online.

    If your child has an IEP, someone (generally the case manager) is supposed to be checking in at least weekly to see how things are coming along and to assist.

    Good luck to all during this time of uncertainty.

  27. Relieved Parent

    First off, I would like to apologize. I certainly see how my statement came across. That was not the intent, and, more importantly, I understand why it caused offense.

    Second, I also realized both through this page and in talking with some other teachers that different rumors were floating around at different times. Apparently teachers at some schools were notified that the hold harmless policy might be coming at least one, if not two, weeks before spring break. Apparently other teachers heard about it just a little bit before everyone else did. That completely changes my perspective on things, but honestly, I was only looking at things from one perspective, and it was a very narrow one.

    Third, because I’m sure it doesn’t come across in anything else I’ve said here, I, like every other parent I’ve talked with, truly appreciate the work of all of the teachers and staff. You have been put in a ridiculously complex and fluid situation with insufficient support (and that’s not a knock on DCSD; it would have been essentially impossible to get enough support in place in time for things to go smoothly). Your job is difficult enough teaching students, and it is made more difficult when you have to deal with parents who try to “help” you do your job; adding the complexities of trying to find which platforms actually work and how to communicate what goes where and then dealing with multiple grading systems and timeframes just makes things that much work. Thank you for what you do.

  28. Anotherdekalbteacher

    @dekalbteacher

    AP classes and Dual Enrollment classes are weighted. No one is making up grades. HOPE, each college, and each school district evaluate numeric grades differently and students, staff, and stakeholders need to be aware.

  29. dekalbteacher

    Hi antoherdekalbteacher,

    You’re right. An A in Dekalb may not be an A in Gwinnett and an A in an AP class may differ from an A in a non-AP class. Everyone does need to be aware. How is the school district evaluating grades now?

  30. I have 1 student in a charter school in Dekalb and 1 in a DeKalb High School. While my child at the charter school receives an average of 5 hours learning and homework 4 days a week, my child at the DeKalb High school receives almost nothing. He is either given a packet and told to turn it in in a week or in the case of Gifted Chemistry nothing. The teacher has just stopped teaching all together. This has crushed his academic drive.

  31. KC, I have you emailed the teachers at your DeKalb High School and asked them about their lesson plans? Teachers, from what I can tell, have been quite responsive. If your teachers don’t respond, then email them again and CC the principal. If you still don’t get a response, then email the teacher and principal and CC me. —Stan

  32. Why do we have to complicate things with this process? What is the reasoning behind having to go back and excuse all assignments for a student who had a higher grade at 9 weeks than they do at 18 rather than just override the grade when posting? It seems overly complicated to do it the way the district is telling us we have to do it. They’re telling us doe 9 week courses students who have done nothing or earned an F will get an Incomplete. Fine… but that is an override, so why complicate the it for the student who went from 86 to 83?

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