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The Pitch

The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

Attendance and grading policy changes take action second semester

Attendance+secretary+Leslie+Albershardt+writes+a+pass+for+a+student+to+go+to+5th+period+on+Friday%2C+Jan.+26.+Albershardt+describes+her+hopes+for+the+updated+attendance+policy+taking+action+January+30.+%E2%80%9CIf+you+are+23+minutes+late%2C+you+are+marked+absent.+Anything+under+that+time+you+are+tardy+unexcused.+My+hope+is+that+teachers+will+adhere+to+that+and+that+parents+will+also+understand%2C+Albershardt+said.
Mia Magone
Attendance secretary Leslie Albershardt writes a pass for a student to go to 5th period on Friday, Jan. 26. Albershardt describes her hopes for the updated attendance policy taking action January 30. “If you are 23 minutes late, you are marked absent. Anything under that time you are tardy unexcused. My hope is that teachers will adhere to that and that parents will also understand,” Albershardt said.

At the start of the second semester, administration will implement new updates to attendance and grading policies. Here are the changes students should know.

Grading

On Nov. 9, a memorandum detailing revisions to regulation IKA-RA grading and reporting was released to administration, with the Instructional Leadership Team discussing the revisions on Dec. 5. Although the report was highly anticipated due to the rumored removal of the “50 percent rule,” the revisions did not contain any drastic changes compared to the regulations of the previous quarter. Staff development teacher Melanie Schwed reviewed the report when it was released.

“The report is vague, and there is a lot of room for interpretation, and we want to know the specifics before we begin implementing. Based on what we have, there appears to be no major changes to the grading policies. Anything that’s changing seems to be small and subtle,” Schwed said.

According to Schwed, the most notable change to the grading policy is the new regulation requiring teachers to designate assignments eligible for reassessment with an R in the gradebook.

While the “50 percent rule” was in question for whether it will continue to be implemented, Montgomery County Public Schools ruled that the practice will stay with a slight adjustment to the implementation; teachers may give zeros for missing work or for cases of plagiarism only after contacting parents. Previous iterations of the rule required two way communication between parent and teacher.

Attendance

A new policy described in the “WJ Attendance Intervention and Support Plan” is requiring teachers to mark any student arriving more than 23 minutes late to class with an unexcused absence starting Jan. 30. This policy change is an attempt to combat the report described as “Chronic Absenteeism.” Attendance secretary Leslie Albershardt believes the requirement will hold students more accountable for when they arrive at class.

“As it is right now, if students are 15-20 minutes late and the teacher has already taken attendance, most teachers update the attendance once the students arrive at class, but this is hopefully developing a stronger policy,” Albershardt said.

The “Attendance Intervention and Support Plan” emphasized the importance of teacher engagement in the attendance process through communication with students. According to Security Assistant James Etheridge, students abusing a hall pass to avoid class is a common problem filling the WJ hallways. Etheridge advises teachers to be aware of how students are using issued passes.

“There has been more activity in the hallways, though I don’t know if they are skipping because when we do ask them, they can produce a pass. The issue is that teachers let them out of class and they are traveling to different locations in the building,” Etheridge said.

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Mia Magone, Business Manager
Junior Mia Magone is celebrating her second year as the Business manager for the Pitch. along with writing, she loves to swim, wrestle, read and hang out with her friends.
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