Rory Devine

Grading Distance Learning in Sweetwater Union High School District

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Parents and students in the Sweetwater Union High School District have opinions about how effective distance learning is. Now we know.

The progress report for students in the district is out, and it is not looking good. The district presented the school board a comparative report Tuesday showing students' letter grades now during distance learning and their grades this time last year while getting in-person instruction.

For all high schools, the number of D and F grades rose from 20% in 2019 to 28% in 2020. For all middle schools, the number rose from 19% to 32%.

"These are the hard numbers that we're seeing, so now that we know this, we need to put a plan in place to help... getting those kids back on campus,” said Kimberly Dickson, a parent who is among those leading the charge to reopen schools for in-person learning.

“I think one of the most important things we can do is make decisions based on the data,” said SUHSD spokesperson Manny Rubio.

One way of addressing the problem was starting in-person instruction for small groups of students who are struggling.

“We’ve seen successes from these cohorts, even in the few weeks we’ve been doing it," Rubio said.

Dickson said the district needs to move forward to give more families a choice of going back for in-person instruction. The data, she said, shows the need.

“It is all over the country, it is all over the county but there are certain school districts that have chosen to do something more proactive about it," she said. They’re not giving families a choice to get back on campus to do something about it."

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