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    Freshman Focus

    Student/Parent Handbook



    Grading & Grade Reporting Practices 



    Rationale:  The primary purpose of grades is to communicate with students and parents the extent to which students have achieved the learning goals.  The purpose of this document is to provide a consistent framework for grading that will be used in all core Freshman Focus classes so that students and parents can refer to a single document for answers to common questions regarding various aspects of grading and grade reporting.  Please note that these practices are consistent with all district policies and that for the purposes of this document “core” classes are those in English, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, and World Language.


    These are the core beliefs that guide the establishment of our grading practices.


    We believe:

    • Grades should primarily reflect a student’s mastery of content rather than effort or behavior.
    • Consistent class attendance is vital to student progress.  The classroom environment where the teacher provides learning activities and feedback for students is the optimal environment to promote learning.
    • It is more important to a student’s learning for a student to do the work late (within reason) than for a teacher to try to use grades to teach students the importance of deadlines.  We also believe that deadlines are important and that students should be encouraged - in various ways - to meet them.
    • Students and parents have one source for reasonably current information about class grades - Home Access Center.
    • Schoology is an important and useful tool to facilitate communication among teachers, students, and parents.
    • Homework should be assigned regularly to ask students to (for example):
      • Practice skills taught in class.
      • Read to prepare for an upcoming class.
      • Study in preparation for a summative assessment.
    • Learning the material and mastering skills are of primary importance and mistakes give students an important opportunity to learn. Offering students a chance to retake or correct summative assessments and to resubmit papers and projects is an important aspect of teaching.  This does not mean that teachers are required to give second or subsequent opportunities for every assessment.
    • No student has the right to disrupt the learning environment for others.


    Homework Club (HWC):  Homework club is an afterschool, supervised activity where students can get support from a Freshman Focus teacher to complete assignments, prepare for upcoming assessments, make up missed work and much more.


    • Homework club is held most days after school from 2:30 p.m. until 4:00 p.m.  Homework club is run by a different core content teacher each week on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.  An administrator may also supervise HWC.  To attend, a student must:
      • Sign up on the appropriate day’s attendance sheet in the FF administrative office.
      • Arrive on time.
      • Remain in HWC until 4:00 p.m. engaging in productive academic work. Students who are waiting to meet individually with the HWC teacher must be working on school work or reading while they wait.
      • It is the student’s responsibility to notify his or her parents or guardian that they are staying after school.
    • A student may also be assigned to HWC as the result of a Code of Conduct infraction.  In this instance, an administrator will notify the student’s parent or guardian.
    • Homework Club is an academic assignment and as such takes precedence over all extra-curricular activities such as athletics and clubs.  It is the student’s responsibility to notify the appropriate staff member that they are choosing to attend HWC (or have been assigned to HWC) and will not be able to attend the practice, meeting, or activity.  All staff (including coaches, club sponsors, etc.) will be informed about HWC at the beginning of the year so that they can verify student attendance and work with the student to address whatever issues exist.


    Grading Practices:

    • Graded work is either summative or formative in nature.  Not all assignments given will be graded.  Summative assignments are those in which students are asked to demonstrate mastery of content.  Formative assignments are those done as a part of the process of learning content.
      • By district policy, summative assignments comprise 70% of a student’s final grade.
      • By district policy, formative assignments comprise 30% of a student’s final grade.


    • Summative assignments:
      • Papers and projects
        • Late Submission - students who do not submit these summative assignments on time must meet with the teacher who made the assignment - possibly during Homework Club - and adhere to teacher requirements for late submission.  There is no grade penalty unless the subsequent deadlines are not met.  
        • Resubmission (when offered by the teacher) - students who wish to correct and resubmit these summative assignments must meet with the teacher - possibly during Homework Club - to review the teacher’s feedback.  
        • Papers and projects can be very time-intensive to grade.  Teachers will make every effort to return graded work to students within 7 calendar days.
      • Exams and other assessments
        • Students who are absent on the day of an in-class assessment will be held to the district policy with regard to taking a make-up exam.
        • Resubmission - Teachers have several options with regard to retaking summative assessments (when a retake is offered):
          • Teachers may give all students the opportunity to correct errors on the assessment.
          • Teachers may set a threshold grade (e.g. 80%) and give any student who falls below the threshold the opportunity to retest.  Students who retest must attend a Homework Club preparation session and can receive a maximum grade of the threshold grade set by the teacher.
          • Other options are possible at the teacher’s discretion.
        • Students will always receive graded assessments back when the teacher has finished grading them.  Teachers will make every effort for this to occur within seven calendar days.


    • Formative assignments:
      • Homework
        • It is within the teacher’s discretion to collect or not collect homework and to grade it as they see fit.
        • Students should receive feedback on any graded homework assignment.
        • Students who fail to submit a collected homework assignment must sign up for the next HWC to complete the assignment.  
      • Formative assessments (quizzes, exit tickets, etc.) - Note that the primary purpose of these assignments is to give the teacher and student information about progress toward mastery and about specific topics on which additional effort should be focused.
        • These assignments should be graded and returned as soon as possible - note that some formative assessments are not graded or are assessed as they are completed.
        • Students should always receive their corrected papers back.
        • Students are encouraged to attend homework club to address any deficiencies identified in formative assessments.


    • Extra Credit:  Teachers are encouraged to be creative with the use of various incentives to increase student engagement.  The only restriction is that extra credit is always a formative grade (even if offered as a part of a summative assessment) and that the formative grade for the marking period is capped at 100%.  Please be reminded that 70% of the student’s grade should come from demonstrated mastery and not from any other source.


    Disruptive Behavior:

    As stated above, no student has the right to disrupt the learning environment for any other student or group of students.  If a student’s behavior becomes disruptive, the teacher will, when possible and appropriate to the situation, attempt to help the student correct the behavior and keep the student in class.  If the disruption continues or resumes, the student will be sent (with work if feasible) to the reset room for a period of 10 minutes or more.  The amount of time that the student is excluded from class is at the discretion of the teacher.  10 minutes is used as a standard starting point for minor disruptions.  The teacher will make every effort to contact the student’s parent prior to the end of the work day to report the disruption and that the student was sent to reset.  More serious disruptions should trigger the submission of a disciplinary referral.  While student misbehavior will not have a direct impact on a student’s grade, a student who is removed from class will certainly miss the activities conducted during his or her absence.

    • A student sent from class is responsible for all work missed and must submit that work as soon as he or she is able. 
    • A student who is sent from class during a summative assessment must attend HWC within 3 school days to make up the assessment or take an alternate assessment.
    • If a student is sent to the reset room from any class a total of three times in a single week, the following will occur:
      • The administrator will call to schedule a conference with the student’s parent.
      • The student will be required to attend the Friday HWC as a disciplinary consequence.  Please be reminded that academic work is required of every student in all HWC sessions.


    Attendance:  District policy requires that students “receive instruction for at least 85% of the time established by the district wide calendar in a given school year.”  In next year’s calendar (and in accordance with our alternate day block schedule) each class meets 85 times.  So if a student has missed a given class 13 times or more, credit for that class may be denied.  Students may appeal retentions due to attendance to the building Principal


    Students with disabilities:  All teachers at Brandywine High School will abide by the details of an individual student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or 504 Plan.  Though it is unlikely, should a conflict arise between these grading and grade reporting practices and the particulars of a student’s IEP or 504 Plan, the IEP or 504 Plan will be followed.