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Rise in 'F' grades at some North County schools spark virtual learning concerns

Posted at 4:05 PM, Nov 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-13 20:50:28-05

OCEANSIDE, Calif. (KGTV) - Parents in one North County school district are reacting to new numbers that show a sharp increase in the number of failing grades during virtual learning.

Scotti Taylor has two children attending Mission Vista High: her son, a freshman, and her daughter, a junior. She says since the school year started in early September with virtual learning, both her children have struggled.

"Both of my kids normally have a 4.0 across the board. Now they're slipping down to low B's," said Taylor.

Taylor says her daughter is struggling the most with virtual learning.

"I do think she's not as engaged. She's really struggling with focus. They don't have the same peer relationships or teacher relationships ... During class, she's mentioned many times that it's difficult to figure out what's going on. Sometimes she can't read the data on the screen," said Taylor.

Taylor's children are not alone in their struggles. Vista Unified just released its six-week progress report for all of its high schools. During that time frame, it was all virtual learning.

The number of F's that stand as the current class grade total more than 6,000. Last year at the same time, the number was more than 2,000, an increase of more than 200%. The number of students receiving F's in at least half of their classes increased from 3.9% in 2019 to 20.7% this year.

In late October, Carlsbad Unified School District released an eight-week progress report and a similar finding, with F grades increasing by more than 300%.

Taylor's kids are about to resume in-person learning Monday. If that option gets shut down again, she's worried about how her daughter's distance learning grades will affect her future.

"100% we are worried about how this is affecting college ... We are scared and nervous," said Taylor.

Vista Unified officials released the following statement:

"The information regarding D's and F's that was presented at the board meeting on Nov. 12 is preliminary data from the first grading period (6 weeks) of the school year. This is not report card data and will not appear on student's transcripts.

We shared the information as a proactive step to support students with support and intervention immediately so that they have time to make improvements before the official grades are assigned in January.

This is also representative of data that we are seeing across the county, state, and nation as students attend school in different environments because of the pandemic.

We are actively digging into this data, both at the district and site level, and engaging principals and teachers in conversations about how we engage students in meaningful ways and what supports and interventions we are providing for our students."