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Manhattan Beach Schools Approve Pass-Fail Option for High School

May 06, 2021 08:55AM ● By Jeanne Fratello
The Manhattan Beach Unified School District's school board on Wednesday night approved a pass-fail option for high school students in the 2020/21 school year, along with other supports for students who have struggled during the pandemic.

The board unanimously approved the pass-fail option, which would allow students who are receiving any passing grade (A, B, C, or D) to opt to receive a P (Pass) instead of a letter grade on their transcript.

A grade of P would have no impact on a student’s overall GPA and would satisfy Mira Costa High School graduation requirements. The selection can be made on a course-by-course basis; students must indicate this selection by June 30, 2021.

In the past several months, many college counselors have said that having a "pass" grade will not adversely impact students in the eyes of colleges. The University of California system, for instance, is accepting pass/fail grades for students in grades 9 through 12 for spring 2020, fall 2020, spring 2021, and summer 2021.

Last spring, MBUSD approved a pass-fail policy for Manhattan Beach Middle School as well as a pass-fail option Mira Costa for the spring semester in 2020. The board debated the pass-fail topic for the 2020/2021 school year at length last month before agreeing on the policy on Wednesday night. This new policy would apply to the high school but not the middle school.

Support for Struggling Students

In a related effort, the board approved a plan for how it will use a state grant to provide supplemental instruction for students facing difficulties. MBUSD has received a $3,864,610 from the state to support this effort.

Through this program, the district will offer a variety of extended learning programs over the summer, including special education opportunities, counseling, credit recovery, and in-person academic remediation.

For the coming school year, the program will provide intervention support classes for middle school students, reduced class sizes in core content areas, after-school interventions and support, a district-wide counselor and a district-wide psychologist, health services for students, and an assistant principal and a teacher on special assignment to coordinate the development and implementation of Multi-Tiered Systems of Supports.

Other Actions Approved

In other action, the board:

  • Approved a resolution "denouncing all manifestations of hate, xenophobia, prejudice, and bigotry, while affirming MBUSD's commitment to the safety and well-being of our community."
  • Approved decreases in the monthly cost of EDP and preschool for the remainder of the school year, reflecting new rules that allow the district to increase class sizes for those groups.
  • Approved ESS Group as the search firm to conduct a search for a new MBUSD superintendent. The board aims to have a new superintendent (replacing retiring superintendent Mike Matthews) by July 1. 
  • Approved a resolution giving legally required formal notice to teachers who may be let go due to budget shortfalls. The board reiterated that this is a legally required notice and the district plans to do whatever possible to retain those teachers if enrollment increases or other budget circumstances change.

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