From the Desks of Carrie Green and Eric Chandler: The Latest on Spring Grades, Exams, Continuation and Commencement
Posted 04/09/2020 09:57AM

The Latest on Spring Grades, Exams, Continuation and Commencement

Stay at home orders. Online school. Social distancing. New schedules. Indeed, so much has changed since our campus buildings closed when we left for spring break and Kent Denver Online began when we returned.

What hasn't changed is the dedication and enthusiasm our students bring to their studies—and that is why, in the midst of these unprecedented times, we will continue to grade student work in both Middle School and Upper School this semester. Grades continue to be useful communication between teachers and students. Our teachers are trained well to both assess and grade. During spring break, many teachers prepared for the online school to which they knew they were returning by participating in webinars and remote mini-classes and meetings of educators to learn some of the best practices of online instruction.

Equally important, our students understand what the grading means. Our students have worked hard all year and we want to honor that work by maintaining their grades. We have the infrastructure in our remote classroom environment to support doing school with grades. And finally, grades feel normal—and in times like these, any sense of normality can offer a kind of comfort.

While we will continue to grade periodic assessments and provide grades (versus Pass/Fail) for classes at the end of the school year, we will not conduct final exams in either Middle School or Upper School this spring. Cumulative or "wrap up" assessments will be a celebration of learning—a chance for our students to demonstrate all that they have mastered—but they will not carry a disproportionate weight in determining grades. This will hold true whether we are fortunate enough to return to campus in May or whether we continue remote classes throughout the school year.

As mentioned in earlier communications, we have eliminated, for this year, the requirement that students must take the relevant AP exam if they are enrolled in that AP course. Students may take AP exams voluntarily, of course, but there is zero pressure from the school to do so. This is one of the many ways we are adapting to the rapid changes that took place in recent weeks. Our teachers, advisors, deans and counselors continue to watch over your children to see who is doing well and who might be struggling and need some support.

We have received a few questions on our website's COVID-19 resources page about Continuation and Commencement. Rest assured, we are not canceling Continuation and Commencement. In this we are resolute. (We are not quite sure how we are going to do it, but we ARE going to do it!) Our seniors, in particular, are doing a phenomenal job. They've had a glorious run at Kent Denver that should—and will—be celebrated!

We are so proud of our school. We are thankful for the foresight of our leaders—they saw this coming and they planned accordingly. We are thankful for our students who care about their education (as well as the world) and are showing up! We are thankful for our teachers and their profound commitment to educating our kids. We are thankful for our supportive parents, many of whom have already sent to us expressions of appreciation. And we are deeply grateful to be Kent Denver educators.

Together, we are going to make this a great spring while doing our part to beat the virus. We celebrate you, our students, and our community. Now and always!