School Board Hears Learning, Grading, Graduation Plans for Remainder of 2019-20 School Year

March 27, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                      
Meeting today by video conference, the Fairfax County School Board heard plans for Fairfax County Public Schools’ (FCPS) student grading, graduation, and promotion for the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year. Staff members have been working on distance learning plans, following guidance from the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), while being mindful of providing equitable opportunities for all students. Teachers will receive remote training for distance learning beginning Monday, March 30, and have been asked to reach out to their students during the week. New teacher-directed instruction, delivered via distance learning and grade-appropriate learning packets, will begin for all students on Tuesday, April 14, after the scheduled spring break. Other factors that are being addressed to begin distance learning include laptop distribution to approximately 15,000 middle school and elementary school students in need who do not have access to a device at home, in accordance with health department guidelines, one student at a time; and printing and mailing of learning packets to homes across Fairfax County.
The Board also voted to authorize Superintendent Scott S. Brabrand to begin the procurement process to support the expansion of the FCPSOn laptop distribution program to middle schools.  The decision to move forward with the expansion of FCPSOn was made because of supply and demand issues for the distributor brought on by the current pandemic emergency.  
School Board chair Karen Corbett Sanders said, “We realize that our families are dealing with a number of challenges, including food security, employment concerns, childcare, and the shared focus on ensuring our students’ socio-emotional and academic needs are met. There has never been a more important time than now to emphasize the unique partnership that parents and educators have in meeting the needs of our students. This Board is committed to working with the Superintendent, staff members, and our families to get through this period.”
The staff presentation to the School Board about the learning plan, grading and promotion is available here.

The School Board was briefed that no student work assigned after March 13 will be graded, at the recommendation of VDOE; however, work assigned prior to March 13 will still be accepted up until April 24 in order to be applied in the calculation of students’ third quarter grades. Additionally, it is the intention of FCPS to use maximum flexibility in assessing and evaluating student learning for the remainder of the school year. To that end, middle school and high school students will be assigned a “no mark” for the fourth quarter, with assignments submitted being allowed to positively influence the student’s overall grade for the year based on mastery of learning concepts, in accordance with FCPS grading policy. Only final grades will be shown on transcripts; a “no mark” will not show on a student’s final transcript.  
No fourth quarter grades will be assigned to elementary students due to equity issues of access to technology and limited student ability to submit work during distance learning. Elementary students will engage in teacher-led and independent learning.  Learning packets will be distributed by mail to all PK-6 students beginning the week of March 30.   Literacy and math content will also be made available on FCPS Cable Channel 21 beginning the week of March 30.  

Teachers at all grade levels will offer virtual office hours for individualized instruction and support.
The Board was assured that any senior on track to graduate will graduate in June.  In addition, students on track to advance to the next grade level will be promoted.  
Superintendent Brabrand told the Board that, “We plan to err on the side of the student when it comes to graduation and promotion to the next grade.”  
VDOE will require divisions to identify the essential content standards which had not been taught as of Friday, March 13, 2020 and develop an equitable plan to incorporate the missing content into curriculum to ensure success in subsequent courses.  School staff will share additional information in the future.  
Board members also learned that resources to support social-emotional and wellness will be available for students, and that students who find themselves as the sole source of income or as caregivers for their families will also be able to get support from the district. 
The complete distance learning plan is posted on the FCPS website.