Skip to main content


Distance Learning Update: Change to Grading Policy and Graduation Requirements| April 29, 2020
Posted 4/29/20

Dear Newport-Mesa Families and Staff,

To ensure that all students have access to their education and continue to learn, the Newport-Mesa Unified School District (NMUSD) Board of Education approved an emergency resolution at the April 28th board meeting to temporarily change the grading policy and graduation requirements. 


As noted in a communication by Superintendent Dr. Fred Navarro on April 24, we acknowledge that home learning environments are unique and the hardships that teachers, students, and families face regarding access to resources and support vary. Therefore, NMUSD will temporarily change the grading policy to recognize academic efforts and minimize stress and anxiety during this time.

The decision to modify grading and graduation requirements was based on student-focused values and principles that fell into three themes (1) equity, (2) supporting the whole child and their mental health needs, and (3) do no harm grading. Each of these themes were used in consideration of the guidance provided by the California Department of Education, educational experts, higher education institutions, and input from stakeholders. 

Grading - Elementary

The temporary modified grading system for elementary students will be as follows:

  • For Trimester 3, students will continue to receive comments from teachers on their academic progress on their report cards. 

  • Numerical marks (1-4) or effort marks (O (Outstanding), S (Satisfactory) N (Needs Improvement)) will not be given.

  • Rating characteristics/behaviors for K-6 and social/emotional for TK students will not be recorded on report cards.

  • While attendance in distance is expected, absences will not be recorded on report cards. 

Grading - Secondary

The temporary modified grading system for middle and high school students will be as follows for Semester 2:

  • Students will be graded on an A-C grading scale.  

  • The middle and high school grading scale will be applied as follows:

    • A - 85-100%

    • B – 70-84%

    • C – 55-69%

    • Incomplete – 54% and below 

  • Incomplete:

    • Students unable to complete required coursework will receive an “Incomplete” mark which will allow them to make up coursework and earn a grade (A-C) and credit for the course. 

    • Incomplete work must be completed within 6 weeks of the next semester. This includes summer of 2020 through October 2, 2020. (Per Board Policy 5121).

    • If the student does not complete the coursework by the deadline, the student will receive a mark of “No Credit” rather than an “F” grade.

    • A student's GPA will not be negatively impacted with an “Incomplete” or “No Credit”.

    • A plan to support students with an “incomplete” will be collaboratively created with teachers, counselors, principals, district staff, and the Newport-Mesa Federation of Teachers (NMFT).

This system of grading also supports our secondary students’ future success and does not place students at a disadvantage in their higher education and post-secondary goals.

We continue to support student learning, while also supporting mental health needs and reducing stress and anxiety. 

Graduation Requirements

In order to better support students during the COVID-19 pandemic, the NMUSD Board of Education took action to make the following adjustments to graduation requirements for current freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors (Graduation Classes of 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023):

  • Credit requirements 

    • Credit requirements for our comprehensive high schools and Early College High School will be reduced from 230 to 220, and elective credits will be reduced from 80 to 70 credits.

    • Credit requirements in our continuation and independent study high school (Back Bay/Monte Vista High School) will be reduced from 230 to 210, and electives credits will be reduced from 80 to 60.

    • Students who choose to withdraw from an elective course during the current semester due to this change will not receive a “Withdraw Fail.”

The following modified graduation requirements will be effective immediately for the Graduation Class of 2020:

  • Senior projects will not be required for a diploma, but may continue as a required class assignment by the teacher as part of the curriculum.

  • Community Service hours will not be required for a diploma. Students may continue to submit their service hours for eligibility for other recognitions and scholarships.

Report to Board of Education (4/28/2020) - Resolution Grading/Graduation Requirements