Purpose(s)/Goal :

  • To examine effective grading practices at the high school level.
  • To align practices around grading, effective feedback and assessment at the high school level.

Basis for Establishment: 

  • Grading practices has been an ongoing topic of discussion across our high schools over the past several years.
  • During the 2018-19 school year a series of listening sessions were conducted with different stakeholder groups and the following themes emerged:
    • Students can experience different grading practices between the 8 classes they take.
    • There are inconsistencies in the use of the online grading system (Skyward).
    • Grading scales vary.
    • There are pockets of teachers implementing different grading practices.
    • There are different levels of support for professional learning and collaboration around grading practices between our four high schools.
    • We do not have a grading policy.
    • We have not communicated a district belief for grading practices at the high school level.

As a result, it was determined that a district wide task force should be formed to examine these areas of high school grading practices.

Decision-Making Process:

  • Task Force work will utilize processes of consensus and input/feedback, with clear communication to members and staff regarding the work.
  • The work will be consultative with the Department of Teaching and Learning.
  • The group will be a recommending body to the superintendent.

Plan of Work: 

  • Review 2018-19 ad hoc notes and survey results (staff and community) to identify themes and target areas of greatest need.
  • Identify emerging issues and craft recommendations related to grading practices.
  • Investigate professional development needs.
  • Help inform a grading policy recommendation.

Regular Members:

  • Ben Goodwin, Teacher, Bellingham High School
  • Winnie Rosbach, Parent, Sehome High School
  • Lev Shuster, Student
  • Chris Carlson, Assistant Principal, Bellingham High School
  • Monique Carpenter, Teacher, Sehome High School
  • Cara Buckingham, Parent, Bellingham High School
  • Joe Balsiger. Ed Tech Coach, Bellingham High School
  • Heidi Covington, Paraeducator, Squalicum High School
  • Byron Gerard, Principal, Options High School
  • Catherine Gersich, Teacher, Bellingham High School
  • Sara Edmonds, Teacher, Squalicum High School
  • Katie Jones, Principal, Squalicum High School
  • Kim Kirk, Teacher, Sehome High School
  • Cezar Mesquita, Parent, Squalicum
  • Ariel Young, Student
  • Mike Couto, Assistant Principal, Sehome High School
  • Keith Schacht, Director of Teaching & Learning, District Office
  • Brian Rick, Director of Teaching & Learning, District Office
  • Jeff Coulter, Principal, Whatcom Middle School
  • Alexander Giebelhaus, Teacher, Options High School
  • Chuck Devange, Teacher, Bellingham High School
  • Julie Hiett, Teacher, Sehome High School
  • Carter Maden, Teacher, Sehome High School
  • Bruce Mansfield, Ed Tech Coach, Options High School
  • Erin Neisinger, Coordinator, Shuksan Middle School
  • Lance Huffman, Doctoral Resident, District Office
  • Kathryn Weilage, Director of Business Services, District Office
  • Kurt Gazow, Executive Director of Educational Technology, District Office
  • Dana Smith, Communications Manager, District Office
  • Trina Hall, Co-Chair: Director of Teaching & Learning, District Office
  • Jay Jordan, Co-Chair: Executive Director of Teaching & Learning, District Office


  • Regular meeting attendance and active participation the work of the task force.
  • Respectful and collaborative interactions with task force members.
  • Support of transparent process through regular communication with school staff on progress of task force according to speaking points generated at each meeting and in accordance with posted task force notes.
  • Support the involvement of all teachers by gathering input from school staff and families as determined and outlined by the task force.

2019-20 Meeting Minutes:

Budget Implications:

  • Possible implication for professional development needs.


In addition to parent representation on the task force, the involvement of parents and families will take place through the Superintendent’s Parent Advisory Committee to the Superintendent, as well as other family outreach for input through website announcements and PTSA meetings, etc.


Task Force Documents

Themes from staff and student listening sessions. – Themes


  • How Teachers Are Changing Grading Practices With an Eye on Equity – Article
  • Strategies for Diving into Successful grading Reform –  Article
  • Why It’s Crucial – And Really Hard – To Talk About More Equitable Grading – Article
  • On Your Mark: Challenging the Conversation of Grading and Reporting (A book for -12 assessment policies and practices) by Thomas R. Guskey | Jul 24, 2014
  • Challenging The Conventions of Grading and Reporting – Article

All Certificated HS Staff Letter – Here