After failing to get a waiver from the state’s minimum instructional hours requirement, the Madison School District has devised a plan for the last week of this school year that will allow students getting Cs or better at its four main high schools to forgo getting that minimum amount of instruction.
The district stopped requiring students at its four main high schools to take final exams about two and a half years ago, largely because of COVID-19 pandemic-related shutdowns, and instead offers an end-of-semester “bridge week” to give students time to complete missing assignments and raise their grades.
This year, East High School parents received an email saying its version of bridge week, called “Finish Strong,” will not require students getting Cs or above to attend school on June 7 or June 8, although they will be marked present for those days.
“On these days, students with D or F grades will have the opportunity to improve their learning, make up key assessments and earn credit,” the email says, and staff have contacted those students.
“Students who were not asked to come in will not be marked unexcused and parents do not need to call in to excuse their student on these days,” the email says.
DPI spokesperson Chris Bucher said districts are responsible for documenting changes to their school calendars, which are reported as part of their annual reports to the agency during the summer after a school year.
But the agency does not seek to verify that districts have met the minimum number of instructional hours requirement.
“We rely on school districts and school boards to meet the requirements laid out in statute,” Bucher said.
In another policy aimed at helping the lowest-performing high school students, the district, beginning with the 2020-21 school year, changed grading protocols so that no assignment, including ones that aren’t turned in, receives a score of less than 50%. The idea is to avoid overly penalizing students who missed some assignments but proved through others that they understood the material
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