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UPSD Officials Remain Committed to Graduation Ceremony
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            Administrators in the Upper Perkiomen School District remain committed to honoring graduating students. According to Superintendent Allyn Roche, school officials continue to hold out hope that the traditional stadium face-to-face commencement ceremony – or a modified version – can be accomplished.

            Since that time period is two months away, administrators have not made any decisions, Roche said during last month's regular school board meeting.

            "We will begin to talk more seriously and plan for a few alternatives or virtual options, but nothing has been thoroughly vetted and planned at this point," Roche said during the April 9 meeting, broadcast virtually on Zoom. "No final decisions have been made about other end-of-year traditions and events."

            The superintendent also addressed the decision by Gov. Wolf to cancel schools for the rest of the year due to concerns over COVID-19. Though Roche expressed disappointment on behalf of the district, he described it as necessary in order to keep our community safe and healthy.

            During his comment period, the superintendent said the district will continue to follow and honor the school calendar that the board approved last August. The last day for students will continue to be June 12, since no emergency snow days were necessary.

            In terms of the impact of at-home learning on grading, Roche announced that final exams for all secondary students have been canceled. They will also face a decreased value in the impact of the fourth quarter marking period. The district will continue to utilize its traditional style of grading, according to spokesperson Nicole Gum. 

            Under the new arrangement, each of the first three quarters for high school students will be adjusted to 25 percent of the total grade, the midterm will be worth 10 percent and the fourth-quarter marking period will account for 15 percent. Previously each quarter accounted for 20 percent each of the four marking periods and 10 percent each for the mid-term and final exam.

            Students taking advanced placement courses for credit are still asked to prepare for and take the corresponding exam since district officials have no authority over that program or assessment, according to Roche.

            Middle school grades will be adjusted to reflect a value of 28 percent for each of the first three quarters and 16 percent for the fourth quarter. Previously, each quarter accounted for 25 percent of the final grade.

            For elementary schools, the beginning of the third trimester coincided with the start of At-Home Learning, and each of the three trimesters stands alone in terms of report cards. All the work in the third trimester will be from the At-Home Learning lessons and activities, according to Roche. He explained that since trimester grades at the elementary level are not combined for an overall end-of-year final grade, all trimesters will simply stand alone.

            "Our teachers are very aware of the challenges and needs in their classrooms, and will assess accordingly," Roche said.





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