FUHSD adapts learning recovery options for students

New bill to allow for grade change, student retention opportunities

As school reopens, a variety of learning recovery options have been introduced for students whose grades were affected by distance learning during the 2020-2021 school year. 

FUHSD implemented these options in accordance with the new statewide legislation, according to an email sent by the district on July 16. 

Gov. Gavin Newsom approved State Assembly Bill (AB) 104 on July 1, which outlines learning recovery options such as student retention, opportunities for letter grades to change to a pass/no pass format and chances for students to fulfill graduation requirements if they are not on track to do so. 

The bill mandates that all districts develop a policy regarding student retention for individuals who received deficient grades for at least half of their classes, California Legislative Information reported.

FUHSD has implemented a variety of procedures for the grade conversion process. (Photo by Infographic by Keshav Kumar and Rajiv Venkatesh)

FUHSD Superintendent Polly Bove said there will be a webinar for families who are interested in discussing student retention, but added that student retention is less common than the other options. 

In the case that families do want to discuss student retention, they would need to submit a written request to administrators, and the district must hold a meeting within 30 days, according to California Legislative Information. 

“We would hold an academic intervention meeting to find a path towards graduation, and retention will very much be part of the conversation,” FUHSD Coordinator of Data and Assessment Denae Nurnberg said in a Zoom interview.

Nurnberg said the district provides resources for all students who need extra aid before graduation. Among several other options, grade conversion will now be offered, in addition to already existing resources including guidance counselors and summer school.

“As long as there is a student who’s enrolled in our schools, we will help find them a path towards graduation,” Nurnberg said. “It might not be by June 3 or whatever their graduation date is, but there’s very few scenarios where we can’t help.”

The legislation also provides students enrolled in 9th-11th grade in the 2020-2021 school year the choice to select pass/no pass grades for any of their classes from last year. High schools will allow students with any letter grade to make the change, Bove said. 

The district hosted a webinar on Aug. 9 covering the logistics of the grade conversion system. Nurnberg said that the shift from a letter grade to the pass/no pass format would allow the letter grade to not be factored in the student’s GPA, similar to the credit/no credit system used in the second semester of 2020. 

A form was released allowing families until Aug.15 to choose if they want their student to have their letter grades converted. Submitting the form will determine whether grade changes will be allowed or not, Nurnberg said. 

“The primary guardian on a student file receives the form, and it will outline every course the student took last year and their associated grades,” Nurnberg said. “You can say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to convert that grade to a ‘pass’ or ‘no pass.’” 

Currently, the bill requires all California State Universities and encourages the University of California and private colleges to accept pass and no pass grades. 

“We really want you to have a chance to think about what type of university you want to apply to, and what it would allow or not allow,” Bove said.

Lynbrook High School Principal Maria Jackson said in a Zoom interview that she encourages students to seek out available resources at each of the sites to discuss whether grade conversion is a viable option. 

“As the superintendent said, this is a very individual decision and we don’t know the effects,” Jackson said. “My advice would be that anybody who’s thinking about this should seek out advice from your guidance counselor.”

Although any student can request to change their letter grade to a pass or a no pass, Nuremberg said that step is only recommended if students have a D or an F. 

“We’re letting the universities make up their own criteria for how they’re going to factor in that grade,” Nurnberg said. “We are only able to give quick parameters and logistical information to students on how to make the change.”

Nuremberg said that the new bill reinforces the resources FUHSD has developed over the past several years. 

“Our guidance team and our special education team is really well versed in helping support students getting back on track,” Nurnberg said. “The options that we have in the system [are geared to help students].”

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