Pitt & Philly Public Schools Provide Grading and Access Updates

Remote learning programs for students in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia school districts have made district officials evaluate the way students will be graded, as many do not have access to the digital content.

All students in the Pittsburgh Public School District (PPS) will receive passing grades this quarter, WTAE reports.

While PPS has begun its remote learning program for all students, school officials explain that students should not be penalized for not being able to access or complete online assignments. With a district of about 23,000 students, some students were given laptops and access to the internet for the program, but others won’t get devices until the end of May, as this could cost roughly $1.5 million, according to WTAE.

Chief of School Performance David May-Stein, Ed.D, explains, “If they’re unable to, we are using the third report period grade, whatever they received for the third report period or a 70%, which ever grade is higher.”

For students in the Philadelphia School District, Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. states, “The system of grading has not yet been determined,” according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. However, school officials are also discussing ways to ensure grading is not punitive for things students cannot control.

While the Philadelphia School District has distributed over 81,000 Chromebooks to students, many still have no way to access the internet. Thus, the district is trying to buy mobile hotspots for as many students as it can. Hite explains, “Those mobile hotspots cost as much as the machines do. We are going to purchase those and distribute those to the most needy families.”

Both districts are looking to see how the COVID-19 outbreak will affect students in the summer and fall. Hite offers that virtual summer school may be an option for students with special-education plans requiring extended school year instruction, as well as those who need to make up credits to graduate. In planning for the fall, officials are considering requiring that students wear masks to school and be brought to school in shifts, depending on social-distancing guidelines at that time.

Pittsburgh Public School District is working on a virtual commencement for graduates, as well as an in-person ceremony later in the year. “There’s a multitude of possibilities right now,” says Superintendent Anthony Hamlet. “We have to wait and see what the guidelines are from the state when the commonwealth reopens.”

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of A Second Chance, Inc.

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