The first day of summer is almost upon us but for many kids in the North Carolina public school system, summer vacation started early. In April, state education officials declared that elementary school students would not receive a final grade, middle school students would receive a pass or withdraw designation, and high school students get to choose how their grade appears on their transcript – either a numeric grade as of March 13th or a pass / withdraw mark.
The decision is meant to ensure that at-risk students are not unfairly penalized while schools are closed and there is only remote learning due to Covid-19 restrictions. The Department of Public Instruction says it this way: "It is the intention of this policy to ensure no students receive a failing grade and that students’ grades as of March 13 serve as a minimum or a hold harmless point."
On this edition, we explore some of the early outcomes emerging from this policy with three New Hanover County Public School teachers. But we also explore how teachers, tasked suddenly with creating an effective remote learning curriculum, are doing. What have they learned from the last three months? What’s working? What’s not? Where are the gaps in the system that need to be addressed?
And there is another issue dominating this country’s collective psyche and its streets: the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis at the hands of a former police officer. We’ve seen protests in cities across the country and in downtown Wilmington, so we also find out how our public school teachers would address this issue with their students – given the opportunity.