Promotion Policy

The DOE’s promotion process ensures that students receive the support they need to succeed in the next grade level. For grades Kindergarten through 8, schools review many pieces of student work to determine if students are ready for the next grade level. For grades 9 through 12, schools make promotion decisions based on course credits.

Talk to your student’s school about how this process applies to your student if:

  • They have an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or;
  • They are an English Language Learner (ELL)

Promotion Process and Timeline

January – Early February

  • Schools identify students who are not on track to meeting promotion benchmarks at the end of the school year.
  • Families of students whose promotion is in doubt receive an email or written notice in the mail.

May – June

  • Schools do promotion portfolios for students who may not be ready for the next grade level
    • This is based on student work and assessments from throughout the school year.
    • Principals make promotion decisions based on the English language arts and math skills shown in the student’s portfolio.
    • Students in grade 8 must also pass the following courses in order to be promoted:
      • English
      • Math
      • Social studies
      • Science
  • Families of students who are not promoted are notified by their schools.


  • Students who were not promoted in June must participate in summer learning.
  • Any student may participate in summer learning, which provides academic support, arts, recreation, and social-emotional support.


  • At the end of summer, principals make final promotion decisions based on students’ portfolios and summer work.
  • Families of students not promoted in June are notified.
  • Families may appeal promotion decisions by submitting a written appeal to their student's principal.

How do schools make promotion decisions?

  • Promotion decisions are made by each school principal based on multiple measures of student readiness for the next grade level in English and math (as well as science and social studies for grade 8 students).
  • Teachers review student work from the school year to identify students who may not be ready for the work of the next grade in English language arts and/or math, even with support. Students whose work shows they are ready for the next grade are promoted by the principal in June.
  • If a student's work shows they may not be ready for the next grade level, the teacher completes and scores the portfolio. The principal makes the promotion decision based on the portfolio results.

If your student is not promoted in June based on their portfolio results, your student is required to participate in summer learning. At the end of summer, the school reviews the progress of the student, and the principal makes the final promotion decision.

How do schools determine which students get promotion portfolios?

Schools prepare promotion portfolios for students whose work shows that they may not be ready for the next grade. This can be based on report card grades, student writing samples, projects, assessments, assignments, and other work chosen by the school.

Schools do not prepare portfolios for students who show they are prepared for the next grade based on their work throughout the school year. The principal promotes these students in June.

What can I do if I am not satisfied with the final promotion decision for my student?

If you are not satisfied with the final promotion decision, you may contact the principal of your student's school appealing the decision at the end of August. The appeal will be reviewed by the superintendent, who makes the final decision.

What if my student cannot participate in summer learning?

Summer learning is an opportunity for students to develop the skills and knowledge needed for the next grade level. At the end of the summer, schools complete a review of students’ portfolios with their summer work and assessments. If your student cannot attend summer learning, you may still submit a written appeal to the principal by the end of August but you may find it difficult to demonstrate that your student is prepared for the next grade level.

Find Out More

For additional information, call 311.