By: Sean M. Guay
Harrisburg100 Exclusive: Gifty-Fifty Grading Policy
Harrisburg, PA – The lack of proper accountability has repeatedly been highlighted, and now it has been learned that Harrisburg School District is not keeping it all the way 100% honest in their reporting of student grades. In fact, they are barely keeping it 50.
Through a memo, titled “Gifty Fifty”, which was sent to all teachers, they were told directly by administration that any student performing at a grade below 50% is the fault of the teachers, who are led to believe that they must be doing something wrong.
A teacher at Harrisburg High School said: “The memo, which I understand refers only to IEP students, but the administration is using that to blanket across all students. We have been made to go back and change any grade that is below a 50% for every student.”
Another teacher breaks down the failure: “Basically, if a student is failing below a fifty percent, we are obligated to round their grade up to a 50%. It’s a pressure move. If you got a 5% in my class, I have to give you a 50% even though you don’t deserve it, this way it’s mathematically possible for you to pass, so you can do nothing all year, then get an 80% or above 4th marking period, and you’ll pass the year with a 60%.”
Rhonda Mays, who is an involved Harrisburg parent, recently expressed her experience with educating youth: “A parent can’t just rely on report cards, but must keep close contact with teachers, analyze standardized test performance, regularly monitor homework assignments, pay close attention to classroom atmosphere, and regularly monitor the mental state of the child when they come home from school. Quite often, due to what the kids witness during the school day (fights, classmates taken out of school in handcuffs by the HPD, unruly classrooms, teachers beat on or stressed, teachers leaving in the middle of the day and never coming back, ect.), causes a sort of PTSD in some of the students.”
Unfortunately for the students, the results show that most parents are not following a disciplined regiment in order to encourage the success of their children. It is also very difficult for any children to focus in the rowdy environment, where many do not feel safe.
10 Fights a day
“Kids fight at school because they know it’ll get broken up and no one will press charges. In the past few years, I can’t think of one day without at least one fight. The maximum I’ve heard of is 10,” said a Teacher who prefers to stay anonymous.
This year: “Teachers have been hit, choked, and slapped. There are usually about 13 teachers out every Friday and Monday.”
“Most of us don’t want to stick a juvenile with a criminal record.”
The Problems Continue
“The kids know all the tricks, like if you come to school late the attendance office will mark you present for homeroom, then you can walk around the building all day,” said another Harrisburg High School Teacher
- Some kids go to school twice a week
- The hallways look like the mall
- The additional hired security have changes nothing except cost the school more money
“It’s been getting worse since William Penn and Shimmel shut down. We have no vocational or alternative program, and the placement program we do have has had a waiting list since the first marking period.”
“The gym is full for basketball games and the stands are full for football. But, I saw only 10 out of 150 student’s parents during Parent/Teacher conferences.”
Another teacher had a student who showed up for the first day of school with no credits from the previous school year.
The attendance of some students is dismal. Students are never going to pass if they don’t do homework, and miss half the school year.
The consensus among teacher is that Harrisburg Schools are allowed to slide because other districts don’t want the problems of our kids, and sweeping it all under the rug is easier for everyone.
“Violence is common in the school, and at times, it’s a place that is more chaotic than the local jails and prisons. I don’t know how our youth can be expected to learn in that environment” – A Concerned Citizen
Harrisburg100 ✌🏽 – Thank you to the teachers and others who contributed to this publication, Identities are not revealed to maintain the privacy, livelihood, and security of the concerned educators.