April 17, 2020
Dear Superintendents and Charter School Leaders,

Thank you for your time today. I’m writing to follow up on a few issues we've discussed as the COVID-19 situation has evolved.

Resources to Support Alternative Metrics for Distance Learning 
SDCOE has developed alternative metrics resources to assist districts with identifying, collecting, and monitoring data points to support the transition to distance learning. The goal is to ensure that districts have a solid understanding of their systems in order to support decision-making, planning, budgeting, and reporting to internal and external stakeholders. The recommended metrics also allow districts to identify and address gaps in access for student groups, particularly duplicated students and those who are in most need of support.

Recognizing that local education agencies are in the midst of rolling out distance learning, the SDCOE Assessment, Accountability, and Evaluation department is offering to develop data visualizations for high-priority metrics collected by local districts. We encourage your teams to access our Alternative Metrics Overview Document and Alternative Metrics Data Collection Tool and attend an online support session to learn more about how the alternative metrics can be used within your systems to monitor and evaluate the implementation of distance learning.

Our next alternative metrics support sessions are Thursday, April 23 from 9 to 10 a.m. ( register) and 4 to 5 p.m. ( register).

Equity Resources
SDCOE is committed to cultivating educational equity to ensure each and every student has access to quality learning experiences and the necessary support to engage in powerful learning opportunities. The following are intended to support you and your district to ensure equity as we transition to distance learning:

Grading and Graduation Guidance
A workgroup of superintendents from local small, medium, large, and unified school districts have been meeting with SDCOE to devise options around grading and graduation requirements. The committee has come to consensus on the following recommendations:
  • All agreed that districts should have a hold-harmless approach to their grading policy. Students can only raise their grades but will not be penalized if they do not have access or cannot be contacted.
  • Due to issues around higher education admissions (private and out-of-state universities) -- teacher subjectivity, maintaining standards, college board concerns, class rankings, etc. -- districts will determine whether to utilize pass/no pass (credit/no credit) or letter grades. In order to address equity issues, agreement on districts building in contingency plans for students with specific circumstances (e.g., not able to locate or do not have access) was recommended.
  • The workgroup would like to have superintendents send out grading information in a similar time frame by region.

Graduation Requirements
  • All students should be given opportunities to complete coursework; however, in some cases, some students may not have access to equipment and/or materials (e.g, CTE courses) and therefore should not be penalized. 
  • Districts will hold to the state minimum requirements, and a waiver option will be provided for specific circumstances due to the COVID-19 crisis.

  • Seniors should be provided a graduation ceremony of some sort. The workgroup prefers to hold off until July/August, or whenever the county health department has given clearance.

Finance Updates
The latest FAQ for chief business officials (CBOs), which was shared with CBOs yesterday, includes updates on attendance reporting, state and federal grants, food service, and more (updates are in green).

Thank you for your continued efforts to support San Diego County’s children during these uncertain times.


Dr. Paul Gothold
San Diego County Superintendent of Schools
phone: 858-292-3514