Good afternoon, Parents.
We have tried to make our virtual learning experiences as close to actual classroom learning experiences as possible but we know there are very real advantages with face to face instruction. When the student and teacher are in the same room, teachers are able to provide more immediate support, see exactly where and how a student is struggling, and maybe most significantly, students find it much easier to be fully present in learning. We also realize that in a narrow list of classes, no matter how we try, the virtual experience will not be anything like the classroom experience. Examples of these types of highly hands-on or experiential classes include physical education, strength and conditioning, construction, manufacturing processes, robotics and composites/polymers. In these classes, we have decided that Pass/Fail grading for virtual students makes most sense.
For example, the learning experiences of our virtual physical education students is much different from the students in our classes. It makes little sense to have virtual PE students attend synchronously for the whole class because virtual students cannot “join in” an activity or game from home. They may be able to sit and watch, but that is not the point of the physical education experience. Therefore, virtual PE students are presented with different types of individual work out options and asked to journal about their physical activity while at home. Similarly, a student can learn about construction practices and principles from reading an article or from a book, but that is quite different than actually developing those skills in the shop. Since these in class experiences and the virtual experiences are so different, we feel listing “virtual PE”, or “virtual Construction” on the transcript and grading it with a Pass/Fail grade makes the most sense.
Specifically, we are planning to grade our virtual students in physical education, strength and conditioning, construction, manufacturing processes, robotics and composites/polymers with a P/F grade and we plan to list these classes as virtual classes on the transcripts. All other classes would continue to grade students using a normal grading system with a letter grade because the learning experiences are not nearly as varied between in person and virtual.
Parents, in these unusual times where health concerns can impact family decisions about the format of school attendance, we do ask that you keep a close eye on your students’ performance especially if they are learning virtually. We want to remain very open to families choosing virtual learning for health related reasons, but we do not believe families should be choosing virtual learning for convenience reasons or whimsically based on what students would prefer on a daily basis. Simply said, virtual learning cannot be as good as in person learning because students are simply not as deeply engaged in the learning process or connected as to their teachers, so choosing it for any reason other than something really important such as health considerations is unwise.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call me at 902-564-2346 x4001.