Seattle families react to school district's new grading policy

SEATTLE -- Families have mixed feelings about the Seattle Public School district’s new grading policy for students during social distancing.

Mike Stone is a parent to two children in West Seattle. He’s also a music teacher to middle schoolers in Carnation with 175 students enrolled in his classes.

“So many kids don’t have the resources they need to succeed right now. What if you’re home and you don’t have the internet or your computers broken or something,” said Stone.

In fact, his son Jettson said he’s been having challenges with his equipment.

“My computer has been really slow, so I have to use my mom’s which isn’t really convenient,” he says.

Seattle Superintendent Denise Juneau said students showing effort for learning at home will receive an “A” while students who aren’t able to participate will receive an “incomplete.”

Students who receive an “incomplete” will have the opportunity to make up the class in the summer.

The school board approved the new grading policy on Monday.

“It doesn’t really show all the hard work they’ve done. If they’re getting a good grade, they put a lot of time and effort in, they should be rewarded for that,” said Stone.

Jaya Lupe-Mendez-Johnson-Valdez, 11, is in the sixth grade.

“I do care about it because it determines my future and what I’ll do,” said the Denny Middle School student. “It doesn’t make me motivated to want to do more things and put more work into it.”

Her dad David Johnson said school gave Jaya structure, and she enjoyed being with her friends. He can’t imagine the pressure families with multiple kids are experiencing, let alone those who don’t have access to technology or are considered ESL (English as a second language) students.

“I feel like they should just pass the kids and really what I think they need to do is engage with the parents and figure out how is this going to work for each family and try to develop a system as they go,” said Johnson.

Superintendent Juneau is holding a Virtual Town Hall meeting on Facebook Tuesday afternoon at 4:30 p.m.