Just in time for the new school year, the Yucaipa-Calimesa Joint Unified School District is bringing back the “D” grade for secondary students.

The board had discussed implementing the D grade for high school students at a meeting in October 2021.

After discussing it further at an Aug. 3 workshop, the board held a special meeting later that day and approved the reintroduction of the D grade for sixth- through 12th-grade students for the new school year.

At the 2021 meeting, Jaime Anderson, assistant superintendent of Educational Services, reminded the board that about 20 years ago the district opted to eliminate the D grade at its high schools and a minimum passing grade of C-minus was implemented.

“Part of the focus then was the No Child Left Behind policy,” Anderson said at the time. “There was a big focus on standards and raising expectations for students.”

Board President Patty Ingram was a board member when the decision was made to eliminate the D grade.

“We felt that it was important that if you were meeting the standard then you passed the class. If you failed to meet the standard … you did not get credit for the class,” she said in 2021. “The important part was to be sure we weren’t just moving kids through the system by giving them a D and letting them pass a class when they really hadn’t mastered the class to a proficient level. That was the big drive for having no D.”

In 20 years, however, a lot of things have changed, including the COVID-19 pandemic, which has had many districts re-examining some of their policies.

The purpose of bringing back the D grade, Anderson said, was to provide students more access to graduation.

“I am not saying that expectations or rigor has changed,” Anderson said in 2021, “but I understand the purpose is to allow our students different pathways. We understand that when our students graduate high school, everyone has a different avenue and we want to prepare them for whatever they choose.”

Superintendent Cali Binks notified teachers of the re-introduction of the D grade for the 2022-23 school year in a letter.

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