By LILY TINOCO | Reporter
During the Palisades Charter High School Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday, November 17, members discussed updates regarding academics as distance learning continues in the 2020-21 school year.
Previous meetings covered the progress of the Academic Accountability Committee, which is a stakeholder board level committee that focuses on student achievement and examines academic data to ensure Pali High is complying with state and charter accountability measures, according to the school’s website. Since those discussions, teacher Brenda Clarke has been elected as chair and non-traveling parent board member Jewlz Fahn has been elected as vice-chair.
“We [would like to] immediately try and alleviate some of the stress on students and help everybody move forward together as a team with the intention of helping as many students as possible succeed to their best ability,” Clarke said during the meeting. “We are going to be sympathetic to any and all concerns of students and incorporate that into our thinking as teachers.”
After reviewing the policies across the school and hearing stakeholder input, the Academic Accountability Committee discussed its review of the eLearning grading policies and suggested to the board to pass them with a few conditions.
The committee compiled three main points: faculty should research the damaging effect of the zero in a traditional 100-point grading scale; continue revising category descriptions so they are explicit, consistent, and help students better understand how they are being graded; and discuss and plan recovery pathways for reteaching and reassessing students who are not meeting standards or targets for both the fall and spring semesters.
Departments were slated to meet Friday, November 20, and the administration directed that the items be placed on their agendas. After the department meeting, the Curriculum Council will confer the points and discuss any changes that need to be made to the grading policies.
If there are changes to make, the Academic Accountability Council will come back to the board for approval from UTLA and the Memorandum of Understanding would need to be discussed, according to Clarke.
A motion was unanimously passed during the meeting to approve the eLearning policies as submitted by the various departments, along with the recommendations from the Academic Accountability Committee.
Principal Dr. Pamela Magee praised the Academic Accountability Council for its efforts.
“They are bringing great energy to … focusing and looking at curriculum policies and practices, we are all at Pali dedicated to student learning,” Magee said. “And despite the challenges … we are truly focused on trying to do what we can to make improvement.”
Magee also discussed the prospects of returning to campus, with plans to send surveys out to better understand the conditions in which students would feel comfortable returning. Magee confirmed that an eLearning environment will always be an option for families who may not feel comfortable returning when the time comes.
“We have our fingers crossed that will be in the not-so-distant future,” Magee said. “Our campus is working very hard to make sure we know what the protocols would be.”
Russell Howard, assistant principal of athletics, said students are slated to return to campus for conditioning in small cohorts—following Los Angeles County guidelines—on Monday, November 30.
“We may have something from a Newsom, a Garcetti, even a Beutner may [say] something that changes this overnight,” Howard said. “On-campus conditioning is a concern … we are in a deep purple condition in LA County, and I don’t see it getting better.”
Board Member Adam Glazer expressed his concern: “The NFL can’t stop these outbreaks and they have the highest technology and equipment, our numbers are climbing like crazy right now … do we really think that with the virus going up that we can stop a breakout from occurring?”
“There are no guarantees,” Howard responded, assuring the board, however, that procedures will be in place, including health checks, face coverings and more.
Students are also responsible for getting to campus on their own, no transportation will be provided. Conditioning is completely voluntary for both coaches and athletes, and neither will be penalized for not participating.
A motion was approved to go forward with the plan.
The board’s next meeting will take place over Zoom on Tuesday, December 8.
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