Update: Grades and Finals
Dear Kehillah Families,
We hope this note finds your family well. Before Passover Break, we communicated that Kehillah’s campus will remain closed for the rest of the 2019-2020 academic year. This letter is to communicate some important updates to our Distance Learning Program, in light of the shelter-in-place extension.
2nd Semester Grades:
Many public schools have understandably decided to award Credit/ No Credit for 2nd semester grades, due in part to issues of equity and technology accessibility. As a small, independent school, Kehillah is in a different position. Our community was able to rally quickly and address any access needs. With our smaller class sizes and our ability to offer robust online courses that combine synchronous and asynchronous learning, we have maintained an academic program with daily, in-person interactions and close monitoring of student progress. Although we have heard from parents on both sides of this issue, we have decided to maintain our current grading system of letter grades. We believe students have worked hard and deserve to earn grades that reflect their progress and effort throughout the semester. That said, we continue to encourage teachers to be flexible with homework and to incorporate multiple strategies for assessing student progress.
We are making significant changes to our original plan for final examinations, given the complexity and challenges of Distance Learning. Overall, we believe in the value of final exams as a culminating academic experience in preparation for college. However, we do not believe this is a reasonable expectation for our students this year. Thus, Kehillah students will not take cumulative (i.e. one covering material over a semester or full year) final exams in any course this year.
What we are planning for the weeks of May 26 and June 1: We still want to make sure our students end the year with a feeling of recognition for their hard work. Rather than a cumulative final exam, our teachers will give either a take-home assessment, project or paper that represents an appropriate, fair conclusion to their courses. We are currently working on a schedule that spreads this work out evenly over the final two weeks of the year. This schedule will be communicated to students and parents as soon as possible.
Distance Learning Daily/ Weekly Schedule:
We certainly did not know how long we would be away from campus back in early March when we designed the Distance Learning Program. This schedule has allowed us to maintain our core academic, experiential education, and advisory programs, as well as to provide opportunities for students to meet with teachers.
After careful consideration, we have decided to continue with our current daily/ weekly schedule for the remainder of the year. Please know that we have checked in regularly with students and have made necessary adjustments over the last month. For example, teachers have greater flexibility in the amount of synchronous learning required in a week, and many classes incorporate more breaks and varied opportunities to work with classmates in a given period.
This has been a unique semester, filled with more challenges and changes than our school has ever experienced. Thank you for all that you have done at home and within your family to support our Distance Learning program. Our teachers continue to work tirelessly and heroically on providing the best academic experience possible given the circumstances. We look forward to a healthy, productive, and connective final month of the 2019-2020 school year.
Patti Carbery & Darren Kleinberg