Student starts petition to get pass/fail grading system added to district for remainder of school year

While everyone has an opinion on which system they feel is best, a student shares what she and her peers believe is best from firsthand experience

VERONA, Wis. —  The shutdown of schools for the rest of the year means students are now learning from home.

The adjustment hasn’t been easy for everyone.

“It’s really hard to stay concentrated in a place where you come home to get away from those things,” said Siri Flores, a senior at Verona Area High School.

Flores and her sister Shelby Breitnauer said ever since their last day of in-person classes on Friday, March 13, it’s been difficult for many students to adapt to learning through a screen for nearly five hours a day.

“At school you’re on an equal playing field,” Flores said. “Everyone has access to internet, everyone has access to resources, power and food. But then you go home and some people don’t have power, some people don’t have stable internet, not everyone has the same resources as hoped. It’s not fair to expect students to do the same amount of work on their own without teacher’s help away from where all those resources are.”

Breitnauer added that even if students have internet connection, many students’ parents are working from home and using the same internet connection. She said this is slowing connectivity for everyone, making it more challenging to get assignments done on time.

Flores started a petition online in hopes of catching the Verona Area School District administration’s attention to include an alternate grading system option.

“We want students who have worked very hard for their GPA and are getting this information really quick and understanding it and knowing how to do it, to get their grades that they deserve,” Flores said. “But for those students who are struggling who just don’t have the same motivation, resources or help at home, they should have the option to be successful as well.”

The petition already has support from hundreds of students and teachers at their school.

“We know that some other students don’t have those resources so we are speaking out to make sure everything is equitable for everyone,” Flores said. “It’s not fair to expect every student to achieve the same thing if we are not all on the same playing field.”

While Flores and Breitnauer said they have the resources they need to get their work done in a similar grading system as when they were in school, not everyone else does.

“We are pretty fortunate and I’m thankful for what we have,” Flores said, “But I don’t feel right if other people don’t have the same opportunities.”

They said they aren’t looking to completely switch to a pass/fail system, but that they would simply like the option for those students who truly need it to be just as successful as their peers.

“They keep saying we are going through this together,” Flores said. “If we are going through this together, we should have our voices heard.”

News 3 Now has reached out to school communications spokesperson for a response. This story will be updated with their comment as soon as it becomes available.