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    Seattle Public Schools High School Grading Policy Update
    Posted on 05/18/2020

    May 18, 2020


    Dear SPS High School Students & Families, 


    I am writing to share an update on the district’s high school grading policy and how it will affect you. SPS students taking high school courses will receive either an “A” or an “Incomplete” during the second semester of 2019-20 school year. This temporary policy is the best possible way to protect our students from harm and to honor their hard work under extremely difficult circumstances while not penalizing anyone for factors outside their control. This decision was made as part of our commitment to students furthest from educational justice, and we enacted this policy to reduce racial disparities, as well as to ensure that we are holding schools and our systems accountable for staying engaged with students and families. We expect that SPS students who remain engaged to the extent possible will receive “A”s in their high school courses in nearly all cases at the end of the second semester or, in rare cases, over the summer or in the fall once they have addressed an “Incomplete.”

    More information on grades during the COVID-19 school closures is available in the Grading FAQ

    We want to stress how important it is for us to stay engaged with you and for you to stay engaged with learning. Although the school buildings have been closed, you are still expected to engage in the standards-based activities or learning assigned by your teacher(s) to the extent possible. Continuing to learn during this time is critical, as it will help you become college and career ready and stay on the pathway to your postsecondary goals and dreams. We have seen countless examples of how motivated you are to stay connected with your teachers and your classmates.  We have heard from students that they want to stay engaged with teachers and in learning for reasons other than grades.  Students and teachers seek community that the classroom provides, and today’s remote learning is how we continue to both learn and create community. Here are a few reasons why you should continue to stay connected to a community of learners:

    • Engaging in learning can provide healthy connections with a community of peers. Isolation can be challenging for your emotional well-being.
    • The routine of participating in class meetings can help establish healthy habits and a sense of stability during the current challenges.
    • Career and College readiness is ongoing. The current crisis will end, and you should remain focused on your long term and life goals
    • Continuing to learn will ensure that you are ready for success when we return to regular instruction. Do not allow yourself to lose sight of your learning goals, and instead get ready for the next sequence of classes in your High School and Beyond plan. 
    • Your teachers are there to support you and they are holding regular meetings as well as individual “office hours” to help you make meaningful progress towards standards and your learning goals. 
    • The district is continuing to provide support to students and their families, from technology access to nutrition and other supports. If you need help, your teachers care about you and can help make sure that you receive the support that you and your family may need.

    We hope that you will continue to share your ideas for how to make learning authentic during this time, and to build community while we are away from our schools. We can all learn from each other during this time.

    Questions may be directed to your school’s counselor at (206) 252-6350; the district College and Career Readiness department at; or our customer service tool, Let’s Talk



    Keith Smith

    Keith Smith, Principal
    Rainier Beach High School