Redlands high schools to freeze grades for the remainder of the school year

Originally published in La Plaza Press

By MIA ARANDA

Redlands Unified School District Board Members approved a resolution on April 13 for high schools to freeze grades for the remainder of the school year. This resolution will be in effect starting April 19 when high schools transition to hybrid and in-person instruction.

Screenshot of Redlands Board Meeting via livestream on April 13. Board Vice President Ed O’Neil led the meeting by introducing each item.

Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services Ken Wagner said of the resolution, “it would be a grade freeze with the ability of students to be able to improve grades thereafter but not go down at that point.” 

Wagner also reminded the Board that they had approved this similar suggestion in March of 2020 when the pandemic began, prompting the transition to distance learning. 

“Again, similar to what we did last year, this year is more based on the transition opportunity that creates a disruption eight weeks before the end of the school year,” Wagner said.

Visual representation, made through Canva, of grades being frozen for Redlands high schools starting April 19. Students’ grades are only able to improve if they continue to do schoolwork. (MIA ARANDA/ La Plaza photo)

Whether or not high school students choose to return to in-person instruction on April 19, the Board anticipates that this resolution will allow for less stress and greater flexibility for students as the end of the school year approaches. Vice President Jim O’Neil and Board Member Alex Vara both spoke out in favor of this resolution. 

“I think it’s a great thing. I hope our kids take advantage of that,” said O’Neil.

Vara said, “It’s a great idea, especially during this pandemic, we need to be flexible and we are definitely being flexible and we are ensuring that our students have the opportunity to graduate and move forward, because everybody is at a different level when it comes to distance learning and access.” 

The Board passed this resolution with no objections amongst its members. 

Redlands East Valley High School Assistant Principal, Ronald Kroetz, recognizes that the Board implemented this as a way to help students feel more comfortable if they are transitioning from distance learning to in-person instruction, 

Kroetz said, “Our goal is that we create a positive learning space where students can focus on improving grades, mastering content and getting involved in more hands-on learning.”

Redlands High School junior Alper Sharip said, “So I think that this could be a good idea, again this might bring some energy out of the students and everything, but you know during these hard times, we kind of need a boost like this. I think it can be helpful. It all just depends on what your teachers set the grade cap on. I think the grade cap should be at least a letter grade.”

There has not been an official set grade cap from the Board, however, it will most likely vary among teachers and how much they would like to implement as a grade cap. 

Sharip continues, “I think this does definitely help in-person learning and I know this is just going to be temporary, but it can encourage kids to come back to school to encourage some normalcy before we go back to full in-person next year.”

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