NISD Board grants Interim Supe authority over grading, class rank

The Natalia ISD Board unanimously approved a Resolution granting the district’s Interim Superintendent authority to implement revisions and decisions regarding grading and class rank due to school closures stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The decision was made during the Board meeting held on Monday, April 13.

The Resolution, which is available in its entirety on the Natalia ISD website, grants the Interim Superintendent – currently Dr. Alexandro Flores, who will be succeeded by Dr. Lana Collavo later this month (see separate story) – the authority to determine local graduation honors and the Valedictorian and Salutatorian for the Class of 2020. Those honors will be determined based on grades available at the time of calculation during the 2019-2020 school year, in a manner that shall not impact the district’s ability to calculate class rank for purposes of admission to Texas institutions of higher education.

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Additionally, the Interim Superintendent has the authority to determine grades for any grading period during the Spring semester, after the district’s closure due to COVID-19, including after remote instruction began. This also authorizes the Interim Superintendent to interpret and institute final grades for the 2019-2020 school year.

Lori Robinson, Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction, said that the district’s grading policy was vague, using the lack of requirement of a certain number of grades as an example.

“It’s more of a vague policy, but our procedures that we’ve established at each campus outside of this distance learning, those are the things that we are changing, or we have changed, in order to meet the distance learning situation that we’re in,” Robinson said.

Details about the grading were set to be given to district staff on April 14, followed by a roll-out to the Natalia community on April 15.

“What the basics of the grading procedures and how it changed is that we’re using these assignments and moving as added value for our kids and not penalizing them for this situation,” Robinson said. “So essentially, that’s all it was built around, was the principle of making sure that our students don’t suffer and their grades don’t suffer because of this situation.”

Robinson also recapped the district’s ongoing distance learning program.

“We started with paper packets for instruction, and then we moved as quickly as we could to ensure that the majority of our students started receiving distance learning through digital instruction,” Robinson said. “Last week was the first full week that our junior high and high school students were on the digital learning platform.”

The district utilizes Google Classroom and Google Hangouts to help conduct classes.

“This week, we had our first full week with elementary second through fifth grades on board,” Robinson said, “and the K-1 students are still working through activities that were sent home because it’s a little bit more challenging for kiddos at that age level to be independent learners and learn how to navigate all of the instructional devices and things like that that they would need.”

Kindergartners through 2nd graders have assignments that focus on literacy and numeracy, while assignments for 3rd through 8th graders focus on the core subjects of reading, math, science, and social studies.

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“And then at the 9-12 level, we are providing instruction for every credit, every course they’re taking, because it is a credit-based school,” Robinson said. “So they have to maintain their credit in order to graduate, so we wanted to make sure that we are doing our due diligence in that.”

The Resolution regarding the grading and class rank policies can be found by visiting the Natalia ISD website at, opening the “About Us” tab at the top of the page, and then clicking on “School Board.” From the Board of Trustees page, click the “Board Meeting Agendas” link on the right side of the page, then click on the April 13 meeting link, the Agenda Packet link, and finally the Resolution link.

By Marly Davis

Staff Writer