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Emergency Grading Policy, Graduation & More
Posted 5/1/20

Dear CUSD Families,


I have a few updates to share, including our emergency grading policy, graduation celebrations, Hoag Mental Health & COVID-19 webinar, and more. 


Have a great weekend,


Ryan Burris

Chief Communications Officer


Emergency Grading Policy


Following guidance issued by California education officials, and to ensure that student grades will not be negatively impacted as a result of school closures and the implementation of distance learning, the Capistrano Unified Board of Trustees voted to approve an emergency grading policy during its April 29 meeting. Teachers will provide grades to students that reflect the “do no harm” approach intended by this emergency policy. Teachers will continue to provide grades to students as a means of offering feedback, motivating, and holding students accountable for the work they complete. Students who participate in distance learning classes and complete assignments and activities will be better prepared for the next school year and will have the opportunity to raise their grade.



  • TK-Grade 5 students will be issued an end of year report card with either Met Standard or Progress Toward Expectations/Needs Review


  • Students will maintain A, B, or C grades with active engagement in their coursework. 
  • Students who do not have sufficient data to be assigned a traditional grade may be issued Credit (CR)
  • Students who are unable to demonstrate proficiency may be issued No Credit (NC) if they have not shown improvement and summer intervention or additional opportunities will be provided to make up work to receive credit. NC will not negatively impact a student GPA.
  • Third quarter (middle school) and 12 week (high school) grades will be used as the benchmark for teachers as they work with students to ensure they continue to participate in distance learning.
  • If a student or parent determines that either the issuance of a letter grade or a “Credit” is in a student’s best interest, the student or parent should consult with the teacher.

This new policy will create some questions based on the individual circumstances of each student. We are providing our teachers and principals with guidance on the emergency policy and they will be able to answer questions next week. Ultimately, our goal is to provide grades at the end of the year that do not harm our young people during this very challenging time. 




High School Principals will use the following guidance to plan for Graduation Ceremonies:

  • Although highly unlikely, if the restrictions in place on May 13, 2020 will accommodate a large group gathering, schools will proceed to hold commencement ceremonies on June 4, 2020. 
  • If social distancing restrictions prevent a ceremony on June 4, 2020, schools will commemorate June 4, 2020 with a video presentation recognizing the accomplishments of the class of 2020, and postpone June 4 commencement ceremonies until July 23, 2020. 
  • A postponed ceremony on July 23, 2020, would have to adhere to the social distancing restrictions that may allow for larger gatherings in one place at one time.
  • If social distancing restrictions require smaller groups to participate in the ceremony, schools have the flexibility during the week of July 20, 2020, to July 24, 2020, to spread the ceremony over one day or multiple days, if necessary.

CUSD & Hoag Webinar | Mental Health & COVID-19: What Parents Can Do to Support Their Children


Join us for a mental health webinar with Hoag Hospital on Wednesday, May 6 at 1 p.m. COVID-19 has impacted and changed our world in many ways. In particular, our youth have encountered a difficult time related to the transition and managing the stress associated with the current times. Parents will learn what they can do to provide support, encouragement and help navigate today’s new reality for their children during this transition. 


Adolescent psychiatrist Dr. Sina Safahieh will lead this important discussion. A panel of teen mental health experts from ASPIRE at Hoag, including licensed marriage and family therapists Prerna Rao and Ammar Altowaiji will also be present to answer questions.


Please submit your questions in advance with this Google Form!

Space is limited - Click here to RSVP!

Download the flyer here!


Happy School Lunch Hero Day to our Food & Nutrition Services Team!


This week we’re honoring the school lunch employees whose heroic actions keep students fed even when school isn’t being held on campus. They are true school lunch heroes!

To honor them, we’re asking families to give a special ‘thank you’ by decorating their car, dressing up as a superhero, making posters and cheering when they pick up meals on Monday, May 4.


Visit CUSD Insider to watch a special video celebrating our school lunch heroes + find out how many meals they have provided since schools closed. Hint: It’s over 150,000!


Teacher Appreciation Week | Help Us Celebrate Our Teachers! 


We look forward to honoring the incredible work of our teachers each year during Teacher Appreciation Week. This year, that honor takes on a whole new meaning as we find ourselves navigating uncharted territory. 


Join us as we celebrate our teachers next week! By this Sunday, May 3, send a creation to us so we can show them how much they mean to us!


Submit your creation by either emailing or uploading to this Dropbox link. By submitting your creation, you are giving permission to Capistrano Unified to use and share the content.

Here are some ideas to show your appreciation:

  • Create a photo or graphic design
  • Create a video message
  • Type a note or a few words telling us why you appreciate your teacher