Despite the ringing of alarm bells by medical professionals and icons like Bill Gates, our lack of experience made pandemic warnings seem possible, even scary, but not probable. The small percentage of people who saw this coming surely wish they were proven wrong, and for the rest of us, our collective innocence on the potential of a life-altering, global pandemic is forever shattered.
Below is an update on 3rd-quarter grades, future educational plans, communication from colleges, and a community-building event. None of this should cause stress, it should not induce panic, it should be viewed through a perspective calibrating lens recently adjusted by the coronavirus.
Of course, everything in our life matters to us greatly, but crisis has the magical capacity of providing a wake-up call; to appreciate and miss things both large and small previously taken for granted, and the fragility of life and the vulnerability that accompanies a pandemic makes everything besides your health, the health of your family, your friends, and all of humanity not nearly as important as it seemed just a few weeks ago.
Over the last two weeks, we learned what we already knew, viruses do not discriminate, they do not recognize borders, race, gender, age, ethnicity, social status or political hierarchy; the British Prime Minister has contracted the disease. One disconcerting development is a surge in racism against Asians. Linking infectious diseases to certain immigrants groups is not new, but it is never acceptable, and blaming Asians for our current epidemic is unconscionable. We are all in this together, so let's be kind and take care of each other.
4th-Quarter Educational Plan
The final details of a new educational plan are nearing completion, and we plan to communicate those before the weekend. One thing remains the same. We are asking all students and staff to do the best they can, and the best for some might mean very little. For others, a routine with more normalcy is a welcome change to the present course. We all need to be compassionate, kind, flexible, and understanding. In the context of a pandemic, we can all benefit from connecting with each other; however, in the context of a global health crisis, we need to be aware that students, families, and staff are not immune to the stress of the unknown. I know you are doing the best you can, and I am proud of how well we are doing.
Over the past two weeks, we have discussed several options for grading in Q3. This is where I landed. Any student with a grade below a 90 average has the option of pass/fail.
Teachers will post a numeric/letter grades in Aspen early next week.
Teachers will send out a Google form to their students asking them if they would like to change their letter grade to a P/F. Educators may choose to seek responses via another method, google forms are just a suggestion.
Teachers have until Friday, April 10 to change the grade to P/F
If a student chooses to do P/F for Q3, it will not impact your final grade or GPA. The other quarters carry more weight and have a larger impact on the final average.
Virtual Kahoot Trivia Night tomorrow evening (Wed, 4/1) at 7pm
We will be hosting a virtual Kahoot Trivia Night tonight (Wed, 4/1) at 7pm.
You can register for the event at the link below:
This event is open to everyone (students, educators, and families)
You will see the Kahoot questions via our zoom screen share.
You have two options to enter your answers:
1. Using your Phone - download the Kahoot app on your phone and then enter the game join code when the game starts (suggested method)
2. Using your Computer - you can have two windows open on your computer. One with the zoom screen share (with the Kahoot question) and another where you will enter your answer.We hope that you will join us.
Communication From Colleges
“There’s no doubt that high school transcripts for this year’s and future year’s applicants will look different. There will be pass/fail grades where there once were As and Bs. There will be tests untaken, chances to improve foregone, and letters of recommendation truncated. But as it always has been at Vanderbilt, context dictates how we read files. And in unprecedented times, context will take on unprecedented importance. You have our pledge that as this crisis evolves, so too will our use of context in the admissions process. But it will never relinquish its central place in our evaluation of the files of your students. Holism has, and will remain, the byword of our admissions process.
Sure – your applicant’s extracurricular charts will look different in coming years. No future applicant will have had the lead in the school musical in spring 2020. No one will be regional tennis champ in spring 2020; no one will have won an election for junior class officer in spring 2020. But that doesn’t mean they won’t be making impacts in the new environment. Some applicants will actually have time to play music, create, read for pleasure, or develop new and interesting hobbies. Some will find themselves with increasing family responsibilities or the need to undertake a part-time job. Regardless of the circumstances your students find themselves in, we’ll understand. It all goes back to context. How future applicants cope with this period of pandemic will certainly be a topic on which we will read many essays in the coming years. Reassure your students that we get it. We understand. And we can’t expect extracurricular activities grids to look the same in the near future.”
From University of Virginia:
“Please know that students will not be at a disadvantage in the admission process as a result of school closures and cancellations associated with standardized testing. Students are not responsible for things they cannot control. With most high schools closed for the spring semester, we will need to be flexible when evaluating transcripts and academic course work, and we will continue to monitor the state of standardized testing nationally and abroad. If testing is cancelled through the summer and into the fall, we will need to discuss our testing requirements for next year. Our enrollment deposit deadline remains May 1, but we will monitor the situation over the next several weeks to determine if changes to our schedule need to be considered.”
From Boston University:
“For those applying to the fall 2021 or spring 2022 semester, BU will be test optional for first-year applicants.”
From Union College:
“We know the 2020 spring terms of most high schools have been put into turmoil. We understand that many transcripts will not have the same grading structure shared with us in the past (i.e. some will move to pass/fail), and some schools will have truncated ends to their academic years.
“No games are being played and there is no spring musical to present. At Union we totally get it. We will take all of that into consideration when reviewing your application activities section. Let us know all that you have occupied your time with during your social distancing. Your list is likely very different than is typical at this time of year but we will understand.”