OWENSBORO, Ky. (WEHT) – As Kentucky schools continue, or prepare to resume virtual learning, some school districts say more students are receiving failing grades.
“This is not just an Owensboro Public Schools issue, that this is a nationwide issue,” says Dr. Matthew Constant, Superintendent for Owensboro Public Schools. He says educators are seeing more students across the district with failing grades compared to last fall. About 40% of middle school students have at least one F compared to 15% this time last year. He says the back-and-forth between virtual and in-person learning could be one reason.
“We started the semester virtually because of COVID-19, then we went into the in-person model and now we’re back to virtual. All of those changes play a part in what’s happening right now,” he says.
Other districts in the state and country are seeing the same issue. Muhlenberg County School officials say they’re seeing a higher number of middle school students with failing grades than usual. Assistant Superintendent Matt Perkins says the main factor is difficulties connecting with some students who aren’t engaging in the virtual platform or choosing to come to school when they’re able to have students in the building. Daviess County Public School officials report 92 of the 11,000 students have failing grades, but could not determine how it compares to last fall.
“In order for kids to advance to the next grade level, we need them to do the work that we’re asking them to do virtually,” says Dr. Constant. He says teachers are at times checking on students at their home if they don’t notice them participating in virtual learning. He adds a strong partnership between parents, students and teachers is needed as everyone goes to virtual learning.
“We just ask parents to just partner with us and if we need to be better partners as teachers, our teachers are ready to jump in and do whatever it takes,” Constant says.
(This story was originally published on November 20, 2020)