Graduation Ceremony Guidance
As you know, on Monday we learned the Governor’s new Safer at Home order extends the suspension of in-person learning through the remainder of the school year. While this created clarity about the end of the school year, it did not provide clarity about graduation ceremonies.
The following day, Colorado’s superintendents spoke with Governor Polis. During our call, the Governor expressed he was granting authority to county officials to approve proposed graduation ceremony plans.
As a result, El Paso County Public Health (EPCPH) officials have given initial guidance regarding graduation plans. Should the COVID-19 data show the necessity for tightening of restrictions, this guidance includes a requirement that all El Paso County school districts have a back-up virtual graduation plan.
Choosing the Right Type of Ceremony
Thank you for submitting your thoughts, comments, and ideas for graduation ceremonies to honor the Class of 2020. We received more than 400 responses. After evaluating feedback received from our families and students, it is clear our community desires an in-person ceremony, even if that means delaying graduations to a later date.
Although EPCPH has been granted authority to approve plans for graduation ceremonies, the Governor stated anything resembling a “traditional graduation” is not possible this spring or summer.
Therefore, we are developing two in-person options for approval. One plan mirrors the ceremony held by the USAFA last week and the second includes a scenario where limited family members would accompany the graduate during the ceremony. A virtual plan will also be included.
We will submit our proposal in the coming days and EPCPH will evaluate our request(s) against approved guidance from the state and real-time health data specific to our county. We anticipate this to take approximately two weeks. We will then know exactly how to proceed.
We are highly confident requesting any form of in-person ceremony on the originally scheduled graduation dates of May 19, 26, and 27 will not be approved. As such, we are also proposing moving graduations to occur between June 20 – 26, 2020 to accommodate all seven ceremonies at an outdoor venue.
Our families and students voiced they would prefer a ceremony that is “as normal as possible.” We believe our in-person options are the closest we can get to normal while achieving approval.
We will work in partnership with EPCPH and ultimately proceed with the option that best meets their requirements so we can honor and celebrate our graduates.
Gathering & Returning Belongings
As we enter the homestretch of the school year, we need to begin planning how students and staff can safely pick up and return items to the school buildings. School principals and administration are creating plans that adhere to guidelines and keep all students, teachers, and our community safe. Please look for direct communication in May from your child’s school for next steps.
Grading Guidelines Clarification for College Courses
We recently released modified grading guidelines for high school, middle school and elementary for spring 2020. The grade protection guidelines announced for high school courses on April 10, 2020, said, “Course grades for the second semester will not decrease by more than 5 percent from the grade earned as of March 16, 2020.”However, this does not apply to courses with college credit options. The grades/credits for these types of courses are not determined by school district policy, but rather are in accordance with college grading guidelines. Such courses include:
Concurrent Enrollment Courses at PPCC or UCCS
Pre-Collegiate Development Program College Courses through UCCS
CU Succeed Platinum Courses through UCCS
CU Succeed Gold Course through UC Denver
CU Succeed Courses taught by District 20 Instructors through UCCS
Project Lead the Way Courses taught by District 20 Instructors through UCCS
Cybersecurity taught by a District 20 Instructor; Articulated with PPCC
For courses with a college credit option completed this semester via online instruction, students will continue to complete assignments and receive the grades they earn. The final grades earned in these courses will be recorded per college grading guidelines.
If you have any questions, please contact your child’s college and career counselor by email.
Air Academy High School: Eric Beers firstname.lastname@example.org
Aspen Valley High School: Courtney Morrison email@example.com
Discovery Canyon Campus High School: Laurie Derickson firstname.lastname@example.org
Liberty High School: Lisa Scott email@example.com
Pine Creek High School: Stephanie Cornelio firstname.lastname@example.org
Rampart High School: Andrea Lucero email@example.com
Village High School: Kimi Cain firstname.lastname@example.org
As we end the sixth week of being at home, I would again like to thank you for your continued support. These are difficult times filled with stressors we have never experienced. Thank you for all you have done and continue to do to make the best of these unusual and once-in-a-lifetime circumstances. I am inspired by you and feel lucky to work and learn with each of you. Be well and be safe.
Superintendent of Schools