State law aims to support students who struggled academically during pandemic

Photo by Katerina Holmes from Pexels
Photo by Katerina Holmes from Pexels

By Kathy Chouteau

As the first day of school approaches Monday, Aug. 16, West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) Superintendent Dr. Kenneth Chris Hurst recently informed families about state legislation that allows for K-11 students who struggled academically during the pandemic to repeat a grade, and additionally enables high school students to have their letter grades from last school year changed to pass/no pass.

State Assembly Bill (AB) 104 provides students and parents/guardians with options to address learning recovery needs, with a focus on student retention (a.k.a., repeating a grade level) and grades, according to Hurst.

When it comes to student retention, AB 104 permits kindergarten through 11th grade families to consult with their student’s school to determine if repeating a grade level is the best course of action for them. The law applies to students who, during the 2020-21 school year, received deficient grades for at least one-half of the coursework in 2020-21, stated Dr. Hurst.

Those wanting to explore this option for their student can provide a written request to their school for a meeting to start discussing student retention. “The law provides districts 30 calendar days to hold the consultation and 10 calendar days after that meeting to issue a final decision,” stated the superintendent.

In terms of changing letter grades to pass/no pass, AB 104 allows families with students enrolled in high school during the 2020-21 school year to request to change letter grades A through D to “pass” by any student and also request to change letter grade F to “no pass” by any student, per the superintendent’s communication. Such changes would apply for the summer, fall and spring of the 2020-21 school year and no grade-point value would be assigned to pass/no pass designations.

“The new law requires CSU and encourages UC and private postsecondary institutions to accept those grade designations without prejudice,” stated Dr. Hurst.

The next step for changing letter grades is to complete the Grade Change form in the Parent Portal or complete this form and return it to your student’s school within 15 days of this notice being posted on the district’s website, per the superintendent. Access the main Parent Portal here.

The law also provides the option for the WCCUSD to offer a fifth year of school to those who were juniors or seniors in the 2020-21 school year and who need an additional year to meet the state’s minimum graduation requirements of 130 credits. Learn more here.

To read Dr. Hurst’s letter in its entirety, click here. Questions? Contact your student’s school or email [email protected].