Checking grades in band

Dear parents/guardians of MMS band students,

First, I am sending this message through multiple platforms to ensure I am “casting the widest net” possible for communicating this information.  If you are receiving this message more than once, please feel free to delete/ignore duplicate or triplicate emails.  I apologize for any inconvenience these multiple emails may cause you.

You may have noticed by now that there are currently no grades entered into PowerSchool for your child’s MMS band class as of yet despite the fact that we’re nearing the end of the third week of this new semester.  In this email, I will try explain why this is the case, as well as how you can monitor your student’s progress in their MMS band class.

To comply with new district grading policies, I have chosen a submission window of 14 calendar days following an assignment’s original deadline in which students can retake, rework, and resubmit assignments for full credit.  After the 14 calendar days run out for an assignment, it is no longer eligible for resubmission.  To avoid seemingly endless entry and revision of grades, I am waiting until the 14 calendar days are up and the grade is essentially “locked in” to load it into PowerSchool.  Unfortunately, neither Breezin’ Thru Theory nor SmartMusic are integrated with PowerSchool or Google Classroom, so all grades must be entered manually, student by student, score by score, by me. 

Additionally, the assignments I am giving in music classes are quite short, so there are a lot of them each week.  Entering individual scores for that many assignments is overload for both myself to enter, as well as for parents/guardians and students to have to sift through when reviewing grades in PowerSchool.  Because of this, I typically enter cumulative scores for assignments given over the course of a week.

So, how is it that students and parents/guardians can keep track of progress in their band classwork platforms?  I’ve produced some infographic Google Slides to help with this.  Students can access them through Google Classroom in the “Classwork” tab under the “Resources and Materials” heading.  Parents can access them at the following URLs:

How to check Breezin’ Thru Theory scores: http://tiny.cc/checkBTTscores
How to check SmartMusic scores: http://tiny.cc/checkSMscores
(note: if you manually type these URLs into your browser, they are case-sensitive)

I know that this is yet another process and path to follow in this tech-overload of a school year.  However, I felt it was important to communicate with students and parents/guardians about how they can keep track of progress in their MMS band class while I establish efficient grade entry practices that are compliant with new district policies.  I appreciate your patience and understanding as students and teachers alike adjust to these ever-changing circumstances.  Thank you for your support of the MMS Instrumental Music program and your child’s music education!

Sincerely,

Cameron Brown
Director of Instrumental Music
Thurgood Marshall Middle School