Ms. Vega's Grading Policy

    To all parents or guardians of students currently enrolled in this class at MHS North:

    To earn a passing grade for a marking period a student must participate fully in all class time activities and be actively engaged in class work through the entire period.  (That is, the student must respect and work well with other students in class and with the teacher, participate in class discussions, demonstrations, presentations, and critiques, use class work time productively to complete hands-on assignments on a timely basis, etc.) plus earn a combined grade component average of 65 or higher for the various assignments / assessments given during that marking period  

    I try to make it a regular practice to enter grades in the Power School grade book as soon as reasonably possible after the project is due. 

    • Please be aware that grades can change dramatically at any time - especially during the first few weeks of each marking period.  You may see large shifts in your child's grade average.  When there are only one or two assignments in the grade book a low or high score can make a dramatic change in the overall grade average.  The grade book instantly re-calculates the overall grade as every assignment is entered.
    • If a student tries but is unable to complete a project on time, partially completed projects should always be submitted for partial credit. 
      • When the student completes the previously incomplete project, I enter the new final grade.  The new grade entirely replaces the partial credit grade.  
        • Because I want to encourage students to complete and submit their work, it is my personal policy to take off no more than 5 points just because a project is completed late.  More points may be subtracted, of course, based on how the project measures up to rubric standards. 
      • If a student is unable to complete the project on time but DOES submit a partially completed project I enter partial credit based on the amount and quality of the work completed to date. 
      • Students who wish to receive a better grade for a partially completed project may request extra time to complete their work; however, whenever work is not finished in class by the due date, students will be required to complete the work by appointment during the transition block for their grade level or as homework.   During regular class time we will be moving forward to the next project.   
    • Any project that was begun but was not submitted for grading will receive an F / 55.
    •  I DO also offer extra credit when / if the quality of student work exceeds expectations.


    Note: The Quarterly assessment / exam - is  counted as a separarate grade in the Power School grade book.  This assessment is most often a hands-on project that combines many skills learned during the marking period.

    Photography Classes:

    • PROJECT WORK = 75% of class grade
      • Typical Photo project work includes assignments and hands-on activities like those listed below:
        • Transferring digital files from camera media card or cell phone camera to assigned computer storage space
        • Organizing image files using Adobe Bridge
        • Creating and submitting weekly contact sheets
        • Editing /Adjusting / Optimizing image quality using Adobe Photoshop and/or other photo editing software
        • Creating critique-ready digital presentations that feature the required images for each assignment
        • Creating "display-ready" digitally printed images
        • Note:  Extra Credit may be earned by completing student selected photo projects and/or writing assignments.
        • "Passion" Projects
        • Homework 
          • Typical Photo class homework  includes (but is not limited to)...
            • Take photos that meet the requirements for the weekly photo assignments
            • Occasional "flipped classroom" - read presented material &/or watch assigned video clips and respond to a few short questions based on material content.
    • CLASS WORK / CLASS PARTICIPATION  = 25% of class grade
          • Daily "Do Now" assignments
          • Responses to journal questions
          • Individual and/or group reports
          • Individual and/or group presentations
          • Brief written assessments such as quizzes or short tests.
          • Textbook assignments
          • Student Self-Designed projects
          • Other class project-specific on-line research
            • Photography
              • Create a  Digital Gallery with information about and works by masters in the field of Photography ( "My Photo Gallery" Project,)
              • Create a digital timeline that teaches about significant highlights in the field of photography
              • Investigate specific photographic tools and techniques 
                • dSLR camera settings worksheet
                • practice worksheets, etc.
        • CLASS PARTICIPATION:  Students are observationally evaluated on good work habits (the attention and productivity they give to completing the daily class work).  Extra points may be given for students who volunteer to help others in any way.  A student will be given reminders any time he or she is not using class time wisely, but if the student chooses not to use class time productively after multiple warnings, class work points may be subtracted from his or her grade.
      • Prepared for class
            1. Student brings all materials needed for the class and is ready to work when the bell rings
            2. Student follows all school and classroom rules
            3. Student works well with others in the class (cooperates with/doesn't disrupt students who are working)
            4. Student gives full attention to / participates in daily class activities
              • Student completes "Do Now" activities
              • Student works "bell to bell"  ( i.e. student works from the start of the period until the end of the period on class assignments)
              • During class discussions and/or critique sessions, student participates by...
                • volunteering / responding to oral questions, etc.
                • listening / not talking in private conversations while the class discussion is taking place
        Extra Credit may be earned in any grade category when a student submits work of exceptional quality or completes projects beyond the required assignments.

    Applied Art & Design Classes

    • Sketchbook & Other Assignments- 25%
    • Unit Projects - 40%
    • Class Participation / Effort (see below) - 35%

    Classroom assignments are graded using a rubric that includes the four general components below plus criteria for goal achievement in building the unit-specific skills and techniques introduced and practiced with each new project.  

    • Class Participation / Effort: 
      • Willingness to stay on task "bell to bell".
      • Willingness to practice to become better at the skills introduced in each lesson unit
      • Meeting project objectives
      • Active engagement in critiques sessions
    • Craftsmanship / Quality:
      • Use materials and techniques to the best of ability.
      • Willingness not to settle for minimal results.
      • Aim for best work possible /  exceed expectations.
    • Growth: 
      • Artwork should show a natural progression of improvement as the year goes on.
    • Creativity:
      • Explore new ideas.

    Architecture & Spatial Design Classes

    • Students will acquire an introduction to architecture-related career opportunities along with basic information needed for planning various types of dwellings, and design and construction principles and methods.  They will experience hands-on practice in preparing architectural working drawings using both traditional (hand-drawn) and computer assisted methods.

      Through projects, presentations, and various reading and writing tasks, students will  also gain an understanding of architectural design in historic contexts and build skills to analyze, critique and evaluate both their own design work and that of others.   

    • They will learn how to design floor plans as well as how to understand construction plans for a typical single story ranch style house from foundation to roof trusses. 

    • Class work  - 40%  
      • Class Participation,
        • Daily "Do Now" assignments
        • Responses to journal questions
        • Individual and/or group reports
        • Individual and/or group presentations
        • Brief written assessments such as quizzes or short tests.
        • Textbook assignments
        • Student Self-Designed projectsRESEARCH / READING / WRITING TASKS  (Typical tasks might include things like researching and writing about topics such as those listed below.)
        • Architecture in Early Civilizations
        • Compare / Contrast Specific Residential Styles
        • Types and purposes of architectural hand drawings
        • Tools & Techniques used in C.A.D.
    • Hands on Activities and Projects -  50%
      • Creation of precise virtual 3D models using CAD software such as Sketch-up and other programs
      • Creation of precise architectural drawings using precision hand-drawing architectural tools
    • Homework - 10%
      • Typical Architecture & Spatial Design homework includes (but is not limited to)...
        • Create a physical model of one of the architectural styles studied in class
        • Occasional "flipped classroom" - read presented material &/or watch assigned video clips and respond to a few short questions based on material content.


    It is not my policy to lower the standards for any assignment for any student; however, students struggling with particular learning challenges (or parents /guardians of such students) may elect to request alternate assignments that cover the same general learning tasks.  If privacy is an issue, please feel free to contact me by e-mail by clicking on my e-mail link at the top of this letter.   

    Sometimes academic pressures or other circumstances make it difficult for a student to complete assignments as specified within the normal time constraints of a marking period.    Sometimes extraordinarily stressful or difficult events happen in a student's life outside the classroom that make it difficult to focus on academic work as well as he or she would do normally.  Also, sometimes a student's work or extra-curricular activities schedule makes it difficult for him / her to complete photo assignments on a timely basis.

    Because so many factors can affect a student's grades, I believe that a marking period report card grade for the first marking period should not represent an unchangeable grade.  I believe that any student who really cares about his or her academic performance should be given at least one "second chance."  All students in my classes are, therefore, offered the opportunity to continue to work to complete work "in progress" that was not completed in time to be assessed before grades were due.  When that work is completed and submitted, a new grade can be sent down to the Guidance Office and that new grade will appear on the next report card.  (The reason a report card grade of "incomplete" cannot be given in these cases is that "incomplete" grades may only be assigned due to extended medical absences & the work must be made up within ten days of that absence.)

     The only note of caution I would mention to parents is that students should be encouraged to do the current work first and only after that is complete should they work on make-up projects.  Otherwise it would become easy to fall so far behind in the current marking period work that this grade would also be in jeopardy!  I generally make it a practice to provide after school work time at least one day per week - varying the day so that students on fixed work or extra-curricular activities schedules would still have access to the work time and extra help.  Although no food or drink is permitted in the classroom, students are also welcome to come and work on projects during their lunch periods if they cannot come after school.  


    Thank you for your understanding in these matters.


                R. Vega