April 23, 2020
Dear High School Families,
I would like to take this moment to thank those who have been so gracious and kind in communicating their concerns regarding the Credit/Incomplete grading system shift in the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District (PYLUSD) as a result of COVID-19. We have continued to reach out to universities across the nation and internationally to verify that the option of Credit/Incomplete marks would not penalize our students. While we found this to remain true, we also learned new information, causing concern as it relates to students’ ability to qualify for scholarships. We have stepped back to analyze the potential risk to students qualifying or not being considered equitably without letter grades.
As a result, we will be moving forward with a choice model of Credit/Incomplete or “A-D”/Incomplete for high school students. Students’ grades from the third-quarter reporting period will be the benchmark for letter grades for the second semester. A student’s final letter grade may only be improved during the fourth quarter. All letter grades of “A, B, C, and D” will automatically be converted to Credit and “F” grades to Incomplete at the end of the semester. However, parents/students who wish to receive a letter grade in place of a Credit mark for any of their second-semester courses must complete an electronic PYLUSD Letter Grade Request Form no later than June 19, 2020.
We know that many students have been working diligently to improve their grades this semester. Many were counting on a boost to their GPA to improve their competitiveness for local and national scholarships. We also know that some have significantly struggled during this time and may find the option of Credit/Incomplete as beneficial. Universities have assured school districts that they will accept either option, so we leave this decision up to parents and students.
This may be a difficult decision for students and parents. We offer families this advice courtesy of collegewise.com to students planning to apply to four-year universities/colleges.
What do I do if my school is allowing me to choose between Credit/Incomplete or letter (A-D) grading?
Here’s our recommendation—you should opt for the letter grade unless you have:
- connectivity issues and unreliable access to the internet
- technology impediment
- a mental health concern
- any significant situation that’s impacting your ability to do schoolwork
If you have any of the above you should absolutely feel good about opting for Credit/Incomplete. You will be able to convey that broader context in your eventual applications (there’s typically space in most apps for exactly these details).
If you have questions about admission to a specific college, please contact the admissions office. If you have additional questions, our counselors will also be available to assist you.
I want to thank our Board of Education, site leaders, teachers, and counselors who continue to provide insight and guidance, as well as parents and students, as we navigate this and other decisions. In my original letter, I stressed the desire for grades to “do no harm” during these challenging times. I continue to stress this, and I am grateful for the thoughtful conversations I have had with parents and teachers these last few days as we strive to do what is best for all students. I value the thought-provoking discussions and genuine desire to look at this from the perspective of your children, but also through the lens of those who may have been impacted differently during this time.
May we always find ways to discuss and confer as we work for the good of all PYLUSD students. May we remain healthy and well during this time of “stay at home.” May we come back together better than before because we have continued to work together regardless of the difficult situation.
Thank you again. Please look to your teachers for directions regarding their grading and marking policies and practices for the remainder of the year.
Dr. Candy Plahy
Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District
For updated information regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) visit www.pylusd.org/coronavirus or follow PYLUSD on social media.