April 26: Important Letter for Middle School Parents

  • April 26, 2020

    Dear Ritenour Families,

    To reduce the spread of COVID-19, the Ritenour School District closed our buildings on Tuesday, March 17.  The closure was extended through the remainder of the school year statewide. As a result, Ritenour, along with districts across the country, had to quickly rethink how we provide distance learning for our student population with diverse needs.

    In the past week, we have been receiving questions from parents about grades and our grading process, especially at the middle school level.    

    No grading policy will completely address equity issues that exist during these challenging times.  This is especially true when our educators cannot be physically present with their students each day and when many students struggle to access distance learning opportunities.  We are making every effort to mitigate any potential negative impacts of the COVID-19 closure on student grading while also trying to validate the efforts of students, families, teachers, and support staff during this period of distance learning.  However, we do have the expectation that students engage in the work.

    During this fourth quarter, students can only improve their grades from the time distance learning began, which was March 17.  In addition, if a middle school student does not complete a class or assignment they will receive a “NG” or “No-Grade” at the end of the quarter.  The “No-Grade” designation is a result of not attempting or completing the work, which is the expectation.  The “NG” designation is not equivalent to a failing score, but rather an indication of a lack of evidence for a teacher to assign a grade. 

    Our decision about students’ grades was made to alleviate stress associated with distance learning, but also to encourage students to continue learning while informing parents of progress along the way. We know this is not ideal and that educating our students online and through paper packets is not the norm. We understand the many challenges associated with learning at home during the pandemic -- parents/guardians who are also working from home, technology issues, as well as the many stresses that are linked with job loss, stay-at-home orders, illness and so much more. Please know our teachers and counselors want to support you as much as they can.

    Our teachers are working hard to deliver quality education to our students and they will continue to monitor students and post their progress on a regular basis. As a reminder, teachers are available to assist students during online office hours (8 -9 a.m. and Noon - 1 p.m. Monday through Friday) or by email as needed.  If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to your child’s teacher. 

    Right now, more than ever, we need your help to monitor your students' work. We hope to finish the school year strong.  Encourage your students to learn the materials provided by our teachers and take their time with online assignments and quizzes.  Our teachers are here to support and guide our students, but we need our families' support to monitor our students each day.  For more information and to access online learning materials, you can always visit our website at www.ritenourschools.org/COVID19.     

    Working together, we can help our students experience success both now and in the future.  

    Thank you,

    Dr. Mike LaChance
    Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction