Arlington ISD reveals action plan to help failing students during virtual learning

Arlington ISD released an action plan after revealing a large number of students are failing at least one subject during virtual learning.

An alarming number of Arlington ISD students are failing at least one subject after the first six weeks of the school year. Students were engaged in virtual learning during those first six weeks.

Renee West is a parent to an Arlington Martin High freshman. She says her daughter is used to As and Bs, but not anymore.

“I get the alert when her grade drops below a certain level and that’s giving me anxiety when I see that email from the school come up,” West said. “Grade after grade after grade, she’s got a failing grade on this or a missing grade on that and that just means the same conversation every night. ‘Why didn’t you? Why didn’t you?’”

Last year, 11% of elementary school students were failing one subject in the first six weeks. This year, it’s nearly 40%. It’s worse in middle and high school. About half of them are failing at least one subject.

“That’s concerning. That’s a major concern,” said Arlington ISD Trustee Bowie Hogg.

In a statement, Arlington ISD Superintendent Dr. Marcelo Cavazos said “many of our students are experiencing a gap in learning… because of COVID-19, students, teachers and parents have contended with ongoing disruption that has impacted our learning models.”

The district is implementing a grade recovery program, conducting student interventions and adding more support for teachers in an attempt to catch students up.

Arlington ISD 6th grader Rylin Tucker is still learning virtually. His mother believes it works for him but that it’s difficult for teachers.

“I like staying home, but it would be easier for me at schools because I get to actually interact,” Rylin said.

Arlington is likely not the only district seeing an increase in failing grades, but Dallas ISD transitioned to a 9-week grading period so it doesn’t have official numbers.

Fort Worth ISD says it just completed its first six weeks, and it’s looking at the data.

Superintendent Dr. Kent Scribner did predict a similar disruption though over the summer.

“We expect to see historic academic regression,” he said.

West isn’t exactly sure what’s to blame for the failure rates, but she believes striking a balance between school safety and education isn’t easy on anyone.

“Hats off to all of the teachers who are trying their best,” she said.

Arlington is back to a hybrid option. About 55% of students are learning in-person.