Penalties for late work eliminated


Mary Koby

When students open PowerSchool Learning, missing assignments are represented by zeroes and orange exclamation marks.

As a result of the pandemic, BSM has implemented a policy that gives students an opportunity to complete work past the due date.

This new policy means that students can turn in work past the initial deadline, without losing points or having it negatively affect their grade. “This does not mean there are no deadlines, it simply means that students are given a second opportunity to demonstrate their learning by doing the work. When an assignment or project is not turned in, the teacher is asked to put a zero in the gradebook. This reflects the reality that the assignment or project was not completed on time,” Senior High Principal Dr. Susan Skinner said.

The no penalty for late work policy was put into effect back in March when BSM first started Extended Online School. Administration put this policy into place then and continued it into this school year to put the focus on learning and to take away some of the stress that comes along with the pandemic. “The policy creates an environment where students get a break and are provided an opportunity to do the work, which is directly connected to their learning,” Skinner said.

What do the students think?
Infographic created from a Knight Errant survey of 177 students.


Since being enforced, the overall reaction has been positive. Director of Learning Support & Junior High Math Teacher, Ms. Kristin Gilbertson, is one of the teachers in favor of the policy. She has never penalized late work before, so the policy felt fitting for her teaching style. Gilbert believes that penalizing late work is unfair to students who have learning disabilities or who have outside engagements. “I don’t think grades should reflect a student’s ability to turn work in on time, instead [grades] should [show] what students know about the subject and their ability to demonstrate that effectively,” Gilbertson said.

Students have had the most positive response to the policy in general. “I really like this policy because life can be busy sometimes and if you don’t have enough time to complete an assignment, it takes some of the stress off knowing that it won’t be docked or significantly affect your grade like it could have in the past,” sophomore Isabella Steinbring said.

However, some teachers believe that this policy is teaching bad habits when it comes to deadlines. English teacher Ms. Anne Marie Dominguez is one of the teachers not keen on the policy. Dominguez doesn’t believe the policy is providing the intended effect BSM had planned for. She prefers students to earnestly ask for extensions, and she’ll be happy to provide them. Dominguez believes that having deadlines allows space to build relationships with students when extra time is needed. Furthermore, she feels that deadlines are a necessary tool. “There’s a distinct real-world aspect of a deadline that I think students need to be aware of,” Dominguez said.

The policy gives students an opportunity to turn work in past the original due date, without points taken away. While this does give students a second chance, that does not mean there are no deadlines. The deadline for all first quarter work is October 30.

As for when the policy will no longer be in place, BSM does not know yet. “At this point, the policy is based on the pandemic and will be reviewed once we are all back in school every day,” Skinner said.