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Falling grades at schools in Akron, Summit County amid COVID-19

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AKRON, Ohio — College district leaders across the state have lengthy frightened how college students could be affected by distant studying. The early outcomes aren’t constructive.

“This ought to be an alarm for us,” mentioned Dr. Ellen McWilliams-Woods, Chief Tutorial Officer for Akron Public Faculties in a board assembly final week. “We now have 21 or 22 p.c of our college students failing in math proper now – these are seniors.”

Whereas seniors’ grades are a serious concern for McWilliams-Woods, the state of your complete pupil physique has proven detrimental outcomes primarily based on early knowledge launched on the Dec. 14th assembly.

As a complete, the district has seen a big improve within the variety of F’s by college students in each English Language Arts, Math and Profession Schooling. The share of scholars receiving an F in language arts has elevated from 10.5% final yr to 17.2% this yr. In math, the share has gone from 12.4% to 20.3%.

English and math of larger significance to seniors who run the danger of lacking commencement as these course credit are required for commencement.

“Once I see these elevated F’s, it tells me we’re on this path, not less than proper now, the place we’re going to have much more college students not incomes credit that may harm their commencement,” mentioned McWilliams-Woods. “We’ve almost doubled the share of scholars failing math.”

Mother and father within the district are additionally coping with the struggles of digital studying at residence.

“Distant studying with Four boys has been a problem,” mentioned Nikki Taylor, a mother or father of scholars in Akron’s distant studying program. “The primary quarter of college once we received report playing cards, our eighth grader’s grades drastically modified – and never for the higher.”

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As a stay-at-home mother, she is hands-on together with her youngsters and their classwork. However she says the psychological toll of digital studying and the pandemic additionally performs a job within the work children are prepared to place in.

“The social side — that’s simply killing us,” mentioned Taylor. “Everyone is struggling ultimately with this.”

College district directors are conscious of the problems dad and mom face and have been working to implement a program to carry essentially the most at-risk college students again into the classroom for additional assist via a program referred to as distant plus. However this system has, up to now, not obtained approval from the college board that has been reluctant to approve college students return to the classroom amid elevated coronavirus circumstances.

A name to the college board president wasn’t returned in time for this story.

In the course of the assembly, McWilliams-Woods emphasised the significance of offering wrap round providers for college students who’re most in want.

“It is a crimson flag that we’ve got proper now,” she mentioned to board members. “We’ve received to maintain giving assist to the scholars. And that’s why we have been so adamant about distant plus.” She acknowledged this system ought to begin instantly when it’s secure.

Taylor too feels a return to the classroom is what’s finest for college students in Akron and different college districts which have additionally reported declining grades within the first portion of the yr. It’s an issue throughout summit county, the state, and the nation. What’s worse, preliminary knowledge in Akron exhibits the numbers aren’t declining as college students method the tip of the second grading interval come January 15th.

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“I really feel like our children, they’re falling via the cracks. I really feel like they’re not a precedence,” mentioned Taylor.

“I simply really feel like every little thing must be thought-about in getting these children again to highschool, not simply COVID numbers.”

Editor’s Observe: The under story aired on August 31, 2020

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