WCCUSD ‘finalizing plans’ for high school graduations

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WCCUSD: Graduation ceremonies will be virtual, not in-person
The West Contra Costa Unified School District, 1108 Bissell Ave.

By WCCUSD Superintendent Matthew Duffy

First, I would like to wish all of the mothers a Happy Mothers Day and Día de las Madres. Even though a normal celebration may not be possible due to the stay-at-home orders, I hope that you all find a time to celebrate the mothers in your life. 

It’s hard to believe, but we are in the eighth week of our school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Time has moved quickly and we are just over a month away from the end of the school year. I want to thank you all for your continued patience and perseverance as we continue navigating the challenges associated with keeping students learning from home.

I have spent a lot of time hearing from students and families about how they have been affected by this crisis and trying to understand what we can do to provide the resources they need. Each week, I meet with a small focus group of students to get their impressions and hear their ideas on what we can do better. I also meet weekly with parent leaders and this week, we held a community conversation where more than 500 people joined to ask questions and express their concerns. This feedback is invaluable and has helped me and the senior leaders of this district focus our efforts on areas of concern.

Two of the largest areas are around grading and graduations. We have finalized the grading policy for the work being done during the time school buildings are closed and we are close to having a plan to celebrate the Class of 2020.

This week, the Board of Education approved a temporary grading policy that will keep students on track for graduation and college. The Board approved a Pass/No Mark grading standard for secondary students and a narrative progress report for elementary students for the last grading cycle of the 2019-2020 academic year. This is consistent with California Department of Education and University of California grading and admissions policies.

Elementary school students will receive clear and meaningful teacher feedback on report cards, using strengths-based narratives in place of marks for the third trimester. Middle  and high schools will adhere to a Pass/No Mark system. Students who complete work at a level equivalent to C- or higher will receive a “Pass” and shall receive credit towards the A-G requirements for the class. Students who complete work at a level that is lower than a C- will receive a “No Mark” but will receive credit toward high school graduation. A “No Mark” will not be eligible for credit towards the A-G requirements.

We are also close to finalizing plans for each high school to celebrate their graduating seniors. I know this is an important milestone that needs to be properly acknowledged. It is our hope that we are able to get our law enforcement partners, county health department and county office of education to approve the plans being submitted by the high schools. It is my hope to have more clarity and be able to announce those plans in the next week.

In recent days, there has been a lot of discussion about easing some of the stay-at-home restrictions and reopening businesses and recreational opportunities. This is welcome and positive news. However, we urge you to continue to follow all social distancing guidelines and respiratory etiquette when the restrictions are relaxed. While some recreational facilities have been reopened, District facilities, including playgrounds and athletic fields, remain closed. We are working on a plan to reopen them, but we currently do not have the staff available to monitor and maintain our athletic fields and playgrounds.

Finally, please remember that there are a number of resources available if you or someone you know needs assistance. You can access many of those resources at www.wccusd.net/districtclosure. If you have questions, please send an email to questions@wccusd.net or call us at (510) 965-4444 or (510) 965-4443 for Spanish.

Thank you again for your support and patience.

This statement was originally published on the WCCUSD website on Friday, May 8.

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