Virginia Beach School Board members field criticism from parents on grading forum

Several Virginia Beach School Board members said Tuesday that they had received phone calls and emails from parents after the district’s first community forum on fair and equitable grading practices earlier this month.

Board member Ashley McLeod said parents and teachers reached out to her.

“Many of the folks are frustrated. They thought they were going to have an opportunity to do more than give a question on an index card,” she said.

McLeod said many of those who contacted her felt misled by what the event was supposed to be.

“They did not feel like they had the opportunity for dialogue,” she said.

McLeod asked the School Board and Superintendent Aaron Spence to make sure that opportunity happens at some point.

Board members Beverly Anderson and Carolyn Rye said they received similar feedback. Rye, a liaison for the board to the Fair and Equitable Grading Practices Committee, said she believed the event was handled well, especially considering hundreds of people attended.

“There were over 350 people in that room. That was not the setting for a town hall,” Rye said.

Rye said she assured parents afterward that many of their questions would be addressed on the committee’s website. She said there would be more opportunities for them to give feedback.

Spence said he would like the committee to draft recommendations and then present them to the community for feedback.

“So in other words something to react to, versus just sort of like, ‘Here’s my opinion on grading practices,’ because that’s not what’s most important,” he said. “What’s most important is, ‘What’s your opinion about those proposed changes,’ which don’t exist yet.”

As of now, there are no officially scheduled town halls or forums, but officials said there will be some later in the process.

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