Grading students during a time of distance learning due to COVID-19 is a frustration for teachers and a topic of discussion at the Monday, May 11, Osakis School Board meeting.

Superintendent Randy Bergquist said it has been frustrating because the teachers are trying to do everything right. He said the Minnesota Department of Education finally sent out some guidance when it comes to grading school work for students who have been schooling from home for the last two months.

School boards were given authorization to approve grading flexibility and the Osakis School Board did just that. Students will not fail because of COVID-19.

Elementary principal Shad Schmidt said during this time of distance learning, every family is in a unique situation and one grading scale is not conducive at this time.

“Some students could end up failing, but we know if they were in the school building, they would not be failing,” said Schmidt. “Teachers need some flexibility and will use their professional judgement.”

High school principal Brad Hoffarth agreed, saying teachers want some flexibility and would like to reduce the requirements to get a D-.

“We want students to pass,” said Hoffarth. “We don’t have room to have them repeat.”

Both principals said that a student could still fail the first quarter, when school was still in session, but pass the semester.

Schmidt also said that teachers will look at a student’s first semester in relation to the second semester.

Bergquist said teachers, along with the school resource officers, have been in contact with students and parents throughout the distance learning period.

The principals said if students have been making an effort, they want teachers to be able to have the flexibility to grade them accordingly and for the students to be able to pass.

School board members all agreed and approved giving teachers and administrators the flexibility they need to get through the last quarter and the distance learning process.

In other board action

School board members approved the following other items:

  • Hiring Erica Ronsberg as an elementary music teacher.

  • Justin Dahlheimer resuming his role as head cross country coach.

  • Contract changes for Bobbi Jo Haakinson and Pat Stier.

  • Resignations from Connie Rasmusen, paraprofessional, and Shad Schmidt as the head baseball coach.

  • Tenure to the following teachers – Elizabeth Dahlheimer, Calista Herzog and Dylan Kohorst.

  • Donations from the following – Lions Club, $950; Sauk Valley Gobblers, $250; Tree Top Nursery, $65; Aagaard, $5,075.88; Silverstreak Grid Iron Club, $8,855; Alexandria Technical and Community College, $5,000; First National Bank of Osakis, $2,000; and Osakis Economic Development Authority and Osakis Economic Development Corporation, $1,000.