Dripping Springs ISD trustees discuss grade point average configuration, grading policy at April agenda review

A photo of Dripping Springs High School
DSISD Superintendent Todd Washburn proposed omitting the current semester from grade point average calculations. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)

DSISD Superintendent Todd Washburn proposed omitting the current semester from grade point average calculations. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)

Following the recent announcement that Dripping Springs ISD schools will continue virtual learning through the end of the semester, Superintendent Todd Washburn recommended trustees adopt a policy not to include the current semester when factoring students’ grade point averages at an April 20 agenda review meeting. While the board of trustees held off on a vote until next week’s regular board meeting, trustees expressed support for Washburn’s proposal.

DSISD already announced April 9 schools would use a pass/incomplete grading system as virtual learning persists. Washburn also announced in a letter to students and parents that numerical feedback would be given to students as well so they could gauge their progress and success.

The pass/incomplete system, according to Washburn, is designed to account for inequities between student resources and stresses during the unusual circumstances of the pandemic.

As interim Assistant Superintendent of Learning and Innovation Joe Burns said at the board’s April 20 meeting, some students have limited access to the internet at home, even accessing WiFi from school parking lots.

However, some students have expressed disappointment that their grades will not be factored into their GPAs, including one student who wrote into the board requesting an opt-in system for weighted grading this semester.


“My grades reflected my hard work throughout the first part of the semester and I was on track to have the highest grades yet in my high school experience. In fact, they were higher than my cumulative GPA up to that point, and would have significantly raised my cumulative GPA,” the student wrote to the board of trustees in an email. “I don’t wish my hard work to be done in vain.”

Washburn said it would be difficult to implement an opt-in system, because it might not account for discrepancies in resources for students vying for spots in the top 10% of the class of 2020 this year, which would qualify them for automatic admission into state-funded universities in Texas, per state law. While quantifying GPA for those students, a consistent policy needs to be in place, Washburn said.

Washburn also noted that a number of other districts had made the decision to omit this semester’s grades from GPA configurations, and that major universities in Texas and nationally had said they would not count this semester’s grades against students when making college admissions decisions.

“One of the things we are exploring, though, to help support students if they’re going for scholarships and things is looking at an alternative grade point average that could be reported, and they could submit that for a scholarship, but we can’t have multiple ways to determine class rank,” Washburn said.
By Olivia Aldridge
Olivia is the reporter for Community Impact's Southwest Austin edition. She graduated from Presbyterian College with a bachelor's degree in English and creative writing in 2017. Olivia was a reporter and producer at South Carolina Public Radio in Columbia, South Carolina before joining Community Impact in Austin.


MOST RECENT

Overall in Travis County there has been a total of 10,695 cases since mid-March.. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Travis County adds 571 COVID-19 cases; new restriction put in place ahead of holiday weekend

Overall in Travis County there has been a total of 10,695 cases since mid-March.

The First Street Foundation's dataset includes a forecast models that anticipate the effects of climate change and sea level rise. (Screenshot via First Street Foundation)
Analysis: FEMA may be undercounting national total flood risk by as much as 70%

The new dataset includes an interactive Flood Factor dashboard that anyone can use to assess the risk of flooding over a 30-year period for any address.

A photo of a person wearing a medical mask
Travis County Judge supports state masking order, says county will enforce

After Gov. Greg Abbot's statewise mandate to wear masks that cover mouth and nose, Travis County Judge Sam Biscoe voiced his support.

A statue of Willie Nelson sits in front of ACL Live at the Moody Theater at the corner of Lavaca and Second streets.
Austin police will no longer arrest for low-level marijuana possession

Austin police will no longer arrest or issue citations for most marijuana possession offenses under 4 ounces.

Gov. Greg Abbott
Gov. Greg Abbott: Texans must wear masks in public starting July 3

"COVID-19 is not going away," Gov. Abbott said. "In fact, it is getting worse."

Episcopal Health Foundation
Survey: Texans support emphasis on improving economy, safety, pollution to address overall health

“COVID-19 is clearly showing what Texans already know: the state needs to address underlying, non-medical conditions that have a dramatic impact on their health,” Episcopal Health Foundation President and CEO Elena Marks said.

In the course of a month, the number of patients admitted to the hospital due to COVID-19 has increased more than fivefold, according to Austin Public Health data. (Design by Shelby Savage/Community Impact Newspaper)
Deluge of new COVID-19 cases forces Austin-area health officials to limit testing, shift tracing strategy

Fighting antiquated fax machines and a sharp rise in the demand for testing, officials said contact tracers are not able to get in touch with residents quickly enough to prevent the spread of the virus.

A photo of a group of community members at a public hearing discussion
Construction begins on new fire and EMS station in Southwest Austin

As one of five new stations geared at improving citywide response times, the new station will serve the Sunset Valley and Travis Country communities.

CommunityCare Health Centers drive-up coronavirus testing site
CommUnityCare will no longer test asymptomatic people for COVID-19 as testing demand swells

CommUnityCare Health Centers is now only testing individuals who show symptoms, those who have a known exposure to the coronavirus or those with other existing health conditions.

The H-E-B Austin Symphony July 4th Concert & Fireworks will not take place this year due to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus. (Courtesy Ricardo Brazziel)
Read the latest on 4th of July celebrations in Central Texas

Area cities have canceled or modified their Independence Day events.

In communities across the nation, Walmart Supercenter parking lots will be transformed into contact-free, drive-in movie theaters beginning in August. (Courtesy Walmart)
Walmart to bring drive-in movies to 160 stores nationwide in August, launch virtual summer camp

Families can also enjoy a virtual summer camp experience Walmart is launching July 8 with sessions led by celebrities, including Drew Barrymore, Neil Patrick Harris and LeBron James.

City officials are working to contain a recent surge in the spread of the coronavirus. (John Cox/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin shuts down main greenbelts, all programs and amenities through July; parks, trails will remain open

City officials are working to contain a recent surge in the spread of the coronavirus.