Arcadia High sophomore Krista Morrell is just one of the thousands of students who had their school year canceled because of COVID-19. Online learning has become the new norm, but the grading system has students worried about their grades – so Krista decided to do something about it.

“The virus has been a huge disruption in the school year. Everyone is trying to keep up with not only their curriculum but learning a whole new teaching approach that is online learning,” Krista said.

Krista and her friends were concerned hearing how some students are struggling with this new learning system and the stress of the pandemic.

“The current education we are getting was designed to be delivered in a classroom. Our teachers have had to change not what they teach, but how they teach. They are doing their very best, but we all have to learn a new way to work together,” Krista said. 

“We miss the interaction with our teachers and counselors at school. They were always there and available to help whenever we needed it at school and face to face,” she said. There are virtual office hours and counseling appointments now, but for Krista it’s just not the same level of support as before. 

Krista decided to reach out to the governor and create a petition that would change the grading system to adjust to the disruption in their education for this semester. Rather than an actual grade, Krista and her friends would like to see a pass/fail grading system put into place.

“We’re not just concerned about grades; we are also concerned about missing out on a critical part of our learning,” Krista said. “Given that this is an unprecedented situation, we feel that the system that we are evaluated by should be adjusted as well.”

Krista said that Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman responded to her petition and said, “Arizona is a local control state, and grading decisions are made at the local level. We are encouraging school districts and charter schools to be as flexible as possible regarding grading.”

“We students want to be heard in the process of finding a solution. We know the ultimate decision is up to our school districts. We want to raise awareness of our perspective and what we are experiencing. We are not trying to dictate a solution but to propose an option,” Krista said.

Krista asked for 500 signatures for her petition. Go to: change.org/passfailsemester.