by Hailey Muro (former student at Elk Grove High School)



Our value;
Our score
We mean nothing more
They say you'll forget who was best dressed
But emphasize the importance of standardized tests
As if we are solely worth our academic success
The grade book nearly our
Analects, Bible, Torah
And I don’t think theres any more to me
Than these letters on sheets
That determine my productivity
Go on, make a name
For yourself
But remember to maintain
That perfect A
I used to say to live outside of the box
But I’ve learned that the box is much too hard to break
Our measurement of progress is something I could never shake
You are valued if you can find x or y or z
But after school,
What do these letters even mean to me?
The problems on paper
Don’t measure up to real life
Most of the time
I'm just a number on a sheet
The 92% defines me
There is no such thing as an easy A
Because as teachers grade papers
We degrade ourselves
And the biggest and truest measurement of worth
Is not how we learn in class
But how we learn to love ourselves

Grades: one of the things I am most reluctant to give up. One of my teachers has decided he
prefers a gradeless classroom. I have not made that easy for him …whatsoever. I push him to
give me a “standardized” number that both he and I know that I will see myself as. I’ve read so
many blogs and articles on why going gradeless is effective and I feel that it is personally as
well, but our education system as been so engrossed with the concept of giving both numerical
and alphabetical values that often times, it proves to be quite difficult.



After Mr. Heintz promoted the Collab Lab posts and Mr. Saken promoted the podcast (he promoted the one he was on), I started reading and listening.  I just read Mr. Heintz’s post on what he wanted his students to be.  This is what I wish every student (including myself) was:

  • driven to take an initiative
  • open to new concepts and ways of thinking
  • engaged
  • excited about learning
  • passionate about school
  • willing to listen and to contribute
  • able to walk around in other’s shoes
  • want to help others as much as possible
  • know that they/we have growing to do and that we can learn from not only teachers but peers
  • give the vulnerability it takes to allow themselves/ourselves to be inspired and to inspire others
  • be informed on the world (connections from current events can allow for example and allows for greater understanding)
  • be connected. Not only to topics and groups but to ourselves/themselves.
  • know strengths and weaknesses and work on weaknesses while also continuing to develop strengths
  • not be afraid to be wrong
  • know that a percentage doesn’t determine worth
  • be motivated inside and out of classrooms

I want students to be open to new ideas, engaged, excited, passionate, compassionate, helpful, informed, connected, self-aware, and okay with failure.






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