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  • Dawn Florino

No-Zero Grading Policy

Updated: Nov 23, 2019

The second quarter is well-under way and I have been monitoring work habits and grades with teachers. This is also the time when new content and processes are introduced and first-quarter review season is in the rearview. It is exactly the time to buckle down. Some middle-grade students are inherently motivated by grades and excel in academics achievement. Others can be tempted to let their studies slide during athletic, performance and holiday seasons or during times of personal trials. I wanted to take a minute to address a "second-quarter syndrome" some of our students are experiencing.

To prevent this slide, I have asked teachers to keep us informed (me and you) of any missing work patterns including homework. Students who are missing work of any sort will be doing it during their study periods, before school, and recesses if necessary until it is finished. We will not chase them for the work, they will get one warning to submit the work and then they will be going to the "Classwork Club".

There will be no zeros in gradebooks for this missing work. Instead the students will receive an incomplete on that assignment. It is not acceptable to not do their work. The zero does not represent competence of skills, but rather their lack of follow-through. Doug Reeves, author and educational expert, proports that They will be held accountable. There are teachers willing to help, resources they can access (ex. webpages), parents who care and time in study classes, so there are no excuses. This "Classwork Club" is entirely different from self-advocating in advance for additional time for specific reasons or coming in for extra help before the assignments are due. Not understanding is never a reason not to try when we have a 1:14 student/teacher ratio. We are encouraging students to make clarifications in class before they leave or to contact teachers for extra support when they need it. Additionally, anyone who wants to participate in after school activities of any kind at school must show that they are owning their academic and personal progress.

ALL students should be neatly recording assignments in their agenda books. That is not optional. Parents, please help to enforce this. Their effort grades come from their ability to demonstrate responsibility with organizaation and planning which leads to better grades.

I am at school at 6:00am every single day. I am more than happy to sit with any student who has not completed their work to the best of their ability at that time. It would take one time of getting an adolescent out of bed at 5:00am to do their school work with the principal before they get the message that they should use their classtime and resources wisely to get the job done. This is not a detention, this is called follow-through and they will need it every step of the way, best they learn it now in the nurturing environment of St. Joe's. : )

Peace and Blessings,


Reeves, D. B. (2004). The case against zero. Phi Delta Kappan, 86(4), 324–325.

Reeves, D. B. (2006). Leading to change: Preventing 1,000 failures. Educational Leadership, 64(3), 88–89.

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