By LILY TINOCO | Reporter
Following the start of the 2021-22 school year, the Palisades Charter High School Board of Trustees met on Tuesday, August 24, to provide general updates and elect new board members.
The board reviewed a number of different academic policies in response to students continually being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Members discussed the possibility of waiving the school’s community service graduation requirement for the class of 2022—a requirement that was previously waived last year.
One board member expressed concerns over the loss of the requirement altogether in the future and would prefer students submit a waiver if conditions don’t allow them to satisfy the requirement.
“It’s part of our mission here … serving our community,” Director of Academic Planning Chris Lee said. “But we need to remember that all students don’t have the same access to opportunities right now, and we want to keep kids on track for graduation.”
Another item considered was the extension of the suspension of Pali High’s no credit grade policy during the first semester of the 2021-22 academic school year, allowing students to receive an “NC” as opposed to a traditional failing grade. Lee said this was something he would like to see remain permanent at the school as a way to promote equity in grading.
Board members were also asked to consider extending the suspension of the Pali High attendance policy. This means the student attendance policy, where a student may fail a course if they have seven absences, would be waived for the fall semester.
A motion was made to approve all three amended academic policies and moved.
As of Tuesday, August 24, approximately 90% of Pali High’s faculty, classified and staff are vaccinated, according to Assistant Principal Mary Bush. UTLA-PCHS voted in favor of mandating vaccines—in line with Los Angeles Unified School District’s vaccine mandate for all district employees.
A number of individuals expressed concerns about COVID-19 and learning loss when students are required to quarantine. According to a recent newsletter, Pali High has implemented an attendance code to notify teachers when a student has to quarantine, and teachers are expected to work with students individually to ensure they stay on track.
The board said numerous teachers are offering office hours via Zoom to help quarantined students and recording their lectures to upload to Schoology, and urged students to contact their teachers to coordinate arrangements.
“Our teachers want our students to succeed,” one board member said.
Later in the meeting, an election was facilitated, and Dara Williams was elected as the new chairperson of the board, taking over from Brooke King; Maggie Nance was elected as vice chair and Sara Margiotta as board secretary.
“I am excited to be back on the Board of Trustees at PCHS,” Williams said to the Palisadian-Post. “As chair, I look forward to working collaboratively with the trustees, the administration and the stakeholders to provide the best education to our students and the best workplace for our faculty and staff.”
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