PLAINFIELD, NJ — Plainfield Superintendent Dr. Diana Mitchell's announcements at Tuesday's Board of Education business meeting included the news that basketball games will be live-streamed online, an attendance awareness campaign is upcoming, applications for P.A.A.A.S. are available, and more.

Yet one item that was not mentioned was a "pandemic adjustment" that was raised during public comment, and that would require teachers to pass every student with at least a 65 grade for the year.

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Speakers during public comment referenced a text. Not everyone was clear who got the text in question.

Teacher Angleo Marocco said the problem is that teachers are "having to pass every student with a 65 [grade] for the year," and said it doesn't sit well with many of his colleagues. He asked how teachers can pass a student who has not done anything all year. "Now, we put our educators in a bind. When a kid earns a 52, and they have to sign off on a 65, isn't that having them lie?"

"Has there been a state mandate to do this passing of 65?" Board Member Emily Morgan asked, "Where is this coming from?"

"The text that I received said this will start with the second marking period. And my question was going to be, did the board know about this and did the board approve this," Terri Slaughter-Cabbell stated. "And I don't understand how you can say, especially for a senior, getting a 65 is preparing them for college, be it junior college, be it trade, any kind of further education. I think it is a bad, criminal decision to lay something like this on our children."

Darlene Bullock asked, "Where did this mandate come from?" She asked how parents are being made aware of this information, and questioned why no one seems to know from where it's come. She said a 65 grade is not acceptable, saying an 'F' is a failure.

Board President Eric Andrews referred to a recent executive order signed by Governor Phil Murphy that waives student graduation assessment, saying it might be related. He said Dr. Mitchell will investigate the claims, and report on it at the next work and study meeting on Feb. 2.

RELATED: This Year Teachers, HS Seniors Will Not Be Evaluated the Same in New Jersey

Dr. Mitchell's report included the following:

  1. January is School Board Appreciation Month. On behalf of the students and staff of Plainfield Public Schools, we would like to sincerely thank each of our Board members personally for championing for our students.
  2. The P.A.A.A.S. Application period for the 2021-2022 school year is now open. Submit your completed application by Feb. 16. The application may be found on the school’s website under the “Virtual Backpack” tab. See link here: http://paaas.plainfieldnjk12.org/virtual_backpack.
  3. The Class of 2021 at PAAAS is in the process of creating its own mini yearbook and memoir that will be completed by the end of May. The prom for PAAAS is scheduled for May 27, 2021. The PAAAS Senior Breakfast is to be determined. PHS Class of 2021 is requesting input from students for the yearbook. Forward your Senior Superlatives and Senior Quotes as soon as possible to June Green at jmgreen@plainfield.k12.nj.us. Senior Portraits are currently underway. Prom information for Plainfield HS is pending.
  4. The District will be launching an Attendance Awareness Campaign next week to get students back to school virtually. We commend our schools for reaching out to students and parents and making sure they are engaging students daily. We need students to LOG ON and participate in school daily. We believe our teachers are making tremendous efforts to ensure our students are signing on daily.
    • PAAAS - On January 5, a period-by-period attendance campaign was launched, where a team of PAAAS staff members called students and parents/guardians in “real time” to get students to log on. This has increased their period-by-period attendance to 98.2%.
  5. Evergreen School invites all parents to attend their virtual PTO Meeting next Tuesday, Jan. 26, from 4:30 p.m.to 5:30 p.m. See your school’s website for the link.
  6. Barlow School’s Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Black History Month Project –Barlow’s staff and students in Grades K-5 will choral read Dr. MLK, Jr.’s iconic “I Have A Dream” Speech. Additionally, they will discuss the salient points and the connections to other speeches and historic works (Gettysburg Address & Declaration of Independence).
  7. The Frontiers International Plainfield Area Club has extended its scholarship application deadline to Feb. 12. All seniors should to apply for this scholarship. The application is posted on the District website at www.plainfieldnjk12.org.
  8. The Athletics Department, in conjunction with Plainfield’s I.T. Department, will for the first time live stream home basketball games for both the boys and girls teams. Details are being finalized, and will be shared as soon as possible.
    • The Lady Cardinals home opening game is vs. the Lady Comets of Hillside on Jan. 26 at 5:30 p.m.
    • The Boys home opener will be on Jan. 28 vs. Westfield.
    • Due to NJSIAA Guidelines no spectators will be allowed. Please enjoy the games via live-streaming. Go Cardinals!
  9. Plainfield Public Schools will remain virtual. Based on the surveys received last week from the building principals, the growing number of Plainfield staff with 504 plans, the number of staff with childcare concerns, and the number of staff contracting COVID outside of work, the District will remain virtual for students at this time.
    • For Cohorts A-B-C -Effective February 1, 2021, The Plainfield Public Schools will transition to Phase 3, half-day virtual schedule with small group intervention sessions in the afternoon. Your child’s school will provide you with more information regarding the afternoon intervention sessions and your child’s exact schedule. Parents are encouraged to reach out to their child’s teacher for updated scheduling information.
    • The District will continue to assess COVID data on a monthly basis through the end of the school year. Please continue to be safe, social-distance, and wear a face covering to stop the spread of COVID-19

RELATED: COVID-19 Update for the Plainfield Public School District

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