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Hello PUSD Families-

I know you are receiving lots of emails and information as this COVID-19 Virus creates a new reality for all of us. Most likely, you have heard that all public schools in Arizona will be closed for the remainder of the calendar school year, but will still be operating through distance learning. We realize that this is hard on our families and students, and that distance learning can never be the same as a classroom experience. However, I am very confident that our teachers, staff and administration are putting all of their efforts into making the very best of this distance learning situation. Like all of us, our educators are reinventing the way we do business. There are certainly some silver linings as the creativity of our teachers, students, families and community members rises to the top. That said, we realize that there are many unanswered questions and we are working as quickly as possible, with the guidance that we have, to solve those. Thank you for your patience and teamwork as we communicate as often as possible with what we do know. We know that this is hard for our families on many levels. Please know that it is our intention to be as flexible as possible and support you and your children in any way that we can. As always, when we work together as schools and parents, we can do amazing things for our kids!

One of our top concerns is connecting, communicating with and teaching every single student. We are putting many systems in place with technology, physical hard copies and more. If you are having any problems with communication, please contact your teacher or principal by email or phone. You are welcome to email me directly at joe.howard@prescottschools.com if you need any help communicating.

I have attached our PUSD Distance Learning Plan, which answers many questions about how we will continue learning at all levels. There are tips for parents in this document as well.

Some of the biggest concerns in our community right now are understandably strong Prescott traditions like graduation. Our Prescott traditions are important to all of us and we will do all that we can to uphold them. We continue to watch the guidelines around the virus as we look at options. What we can tell you is that on the scheduled graduation day, May 22, we hope to offer some type of graduation ceremony that meets the social distance requirements at that time. No one knows right now, but that could be a virtual event. We are also committed to offering a physical, “Prescott Style” graduation on PHS Bill Shepard Field, as soon as the parameters around this virus permit. That could be summer or later. It is also our hope to schedule a prom-type new dance, along with a Grad Night, when we have a plan for a physical graduation. We realize that not all of our seniors may still be in town, so plan to be creative virtually as well. Our high school administration and staff are very sensitive to our PHS seniors, and are working on ideas to honor them, as well as to gain their input. We are very sorry that we are all in this situation that will force us to do things differently. But we are committed to the love of our students through our vision of Every Child, Every Day..

In terms of another big question of grading, our District Leadership Team has created a philosophy called “PUSD Grading Parameters During COVID-19 School Closure”. Our resources include guidance from the Arizona State Legislature and State Board in terms of flexibility, as well as other districts across the state. Principals knowledge based on experience and working directly with teachers makes up the bulk of this philosophy in terms of balancing “flexibility” with an expectation that encourages students to put forward their best effort for learning.

PUSD Grading Parameters During Covid-19 School Closure

The Prescott Unified School District is approaching grading during this time of distance learning with flexibility and situational awareness. We will continue learning with a focus on the most important standards. We expect students to make a continued effort in their learning during this time. PUSD will offer a variety of learning modes including online or hardcopies when requested. If any family is having trouble with connectivity or technology needs, we will work directly with you on a solution. Please contact your principal if you have not already done so.

General Grading Philosophy by level:

High School: If the student is doing the required work, the student may choose the actual semester grade received based on work done, or a “pass” grade. If a student does not complete required work, he or she may receive an “incomplete” as a grade. Students receiving an incomplete will be flagged for remedial opportunities during summer school and/or during the fall semester next school year.

Middle School- grades 7-8: If the student is doing the required work, the student will not receive a failing grade. If a student does not complete required work, he or she may receive an “incomplete” as a grade. Students receiving an incomplete will be flagged for remedial opportunities during summer school and/or during the fall semester next school year.

Elementary– grades K-6: If the student is doing the required work, the third quarter academic grades can be increased, but not decreased. If a student does not complete required work , he or she may receive an “incomplete” as a grade. Students receiving an incomplete will be flagged for remedial opportunities during summer school and/or during the fall semester next school year.

PUSD will look at each and every student situation separately as needed with a focus on flexibility. We continue to focus on Every Child, Every Day.

Thank you, again, for your understanding, support and teamwork as we tackle this uncharted territory together.

Sincerely,

Joe Howard
Superintendent

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