Districts determine grading, graduation requirements for seniors

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, schools are going the extra mile to make sure their seniors graduate on time.

Bailey Arreola is one of many seniors across the nation adjusting to a new normal.

"We've had Zooms, we've had weekly calendars online," said Arreola. "I feel like the motivation is harder because you're not interacting with anyone. You're not in a class setting, you're not with your friends while you're learning."

The Bullard student is soaking up her last months of high school but says it's certainly not what she expected.

"It's definitely hard," said Arreola. "We were preparing for all our end of year things, end of year dinners, leadership does a lot of stuff for kids to celebrate their last couple months."

Regardless of the situation, she and her fellow students still get to graduate on time. The state released new guidance about grading and graduation for seniors earlier in the month, and Fresno Unified wasted no time in making sure they had a plan.

"There are many different things we had to take into account, number one: this is obviously an unprecedented situation," said Fresno Teacher Association President Manuel Bonilla. "How can we mandate grading and a student be held accountable when there are going to be students that face inequities, which is access to technology, access to internet?"

With the new guidelines, Fresno Unified high school seniors will take their third-quarter grade and build from there. All new content for the fourth quarter will be considered enrichment opportunities for students.

"It would be inappropriate for us to try to jam students that are taking care of siblings in order to allow parents to work in these unprecedented times, so we just had to take into consideration all those factors," said FUSD Superintendent Bob Nelson. "We'd be thrilled if people's biggest concerns was their children's GPA, but the reality is there are other challenges our families are facing."

Graduation and graduation requirements are different depending on the district. For more details on the California Department of Education's Policies visit their website.
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