December 4th, 2018
On December 4th, SGA had its most recent “Dining with Doc” meeting with Dr. Bonitatibus. We discussed three topics, including the retake policy, summer assignments, and the 3.0 GPA Rule.
The biggest takeaway from the meeting is the removal of mandatory summer assignments. We are delighted to inform you that beginning in the 2018-19 school year, summer assignments will no longer be required for students. Students provided Dr. Bonitatibus with feedback, noting that many summer assignments have little to do with the curriculum and can take away from activities and the purpose of summer vacation. Students should have space and time to truly engage with summer opportunities such as research, mentorship, internships, and more which already consume students’ summers. We applaud TJ Administration for their willingness to consider and promptly act upon student feedback in this instance.
The next topic of discussion was the retake policy. The retake system was created to provide students the opportunity to demonstrate improvement and growth in a topic area, with the incentive for students being an improvement in their grade, up to 80%. Certain departments allow for retakes or test corrections on any unit test, whereas other departments choose one test of all those offered to provide a reassessment opportunity. Students expressed concerns over this policy, because it does not give students an equal opportunity to demonstrate mastery of a concept or improve, and does not account for students who failed on a test which was different from the test which teachers offered a retake on. Dr. Bonitatibus expressed that the retake policy was intentionally vague and she is unable to control/regulate teachers’ individual policies. SGA is currently discussing next steps to improve the retake process at TJ, which may include discussions with academic teams and other stakeholders.
Finally, we discussed alterations to the “3.0 Removal Policy”, which entails that if a student’s unweighted GPA falls below 3.0 (B average), that student will go through a series of interventions and may be removed by the principal or their parents. There are concerns that the policy contributes to a pressure-cooker environment, runs from failure, and places too much emphasis on GPA. SGA is currently discussing the merits of this policy internally but would love to hear your feedback via comments or email.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns, or have a suggestion for topics to discuss, please feel free to reach out to any of the SGA Officers or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org