The Cambrian

'D' grades return to Santa Lucia Middle School report cards

When parents receive report cards for their Santa Lucia Middle School students during the week of Dec. 24, they may see something that’s been absent since the start of the 2012-13 school year: The “D” grade.

According to Coast Unified School District officials, the district can’t dictate what grading system teachers use. But school board trustees sure can send a message about what they prefer, as they did at the Dec. 13 meeting.

Until and unless documentation proves such a change is necessary, trustees are encouraging teachers stick with the tried-and-true A-B-C-D-F grading system.

Middle-school teachers had decided at the start of the year to not issue D grades any more for students whose work had been 60 to 69 percent correct level, as had been done in the past. Instead, those students would receive F grades, as do students whose work is in the 59 percent and below ranking.

The reasoning behind the change to no Ds was simple, middle school Principal John Calandro said during the board’s November meeting: “Our goal is proficiency.” Both D and F grades “are a call to action,” but there are specific interventions that kick in after an F is issued. The teachers’ aim was to spur students to work a little harder for the C grade, rather than settle for Ds.

Calandro said that, at the first-quarter unofficial grading period, teachers had issued 57 F grades in individual classes. Those grades are advisory only, as are reports sent home every three weeks for any student with scores averaging lower than 70 percent.

Such reports and grades serve as a means of notifying parents about students’ progress or lack of it.

Calandro said Tuesday it frustrates him when he gets very little parental response to those progress reports. “The middle school is continually seeking ways to intervene with students who need help,” he said,