EASTON, Pa. – Middle and high school students in the Easton Area School District are not faring well in the core subject areas, according to district officials.
On Tuesday, district Director of Secondary Education Michael Koch told Board of Education members the failure rate for the first two quarters of the 2020-21 school year has increased compared to the same two quarters of the 2019-20 school year.
"This learning model is working for a large number of our students but unfortunately it's not for others," said Koch.
Students in the district's secondary schools have been in a hybrid learning model, attending school in person two days a week, since the start of the school year.
According to the figures, the failure rate for students who are failing two or more core subjects of mathematics, English, social studies and science at Easton Area Middle School was 17% during the first quarter of this year versus just 6% during the first quarter the previous school year.
The failure rate at the middle school for the second quarter of this year is 21% compared to 7% during the same period in the 2019-20 school year.
For students at Easton Area High School, the failure rate for the first quarter of the 2020-21 school year was 12% versus just 4% during the first quarter of the 2019-20 school year.
The failure rate during the second quarter of the current school year for high school students is 13% compared to 8% during the same quarter of the last school year.
Koch said the district has developed procedures to assist students who have been struggling academically. Some of the adjustments include additional individualized teacher help, additional time to complete assignments and the allowance for resubmission of work in some cases.
"More than ever, our teachers are, more than ever, (working) to accommodate and support students where they need it," said Koch.
However, there are some students who may have to make up during the summer, he added.
As the district planned to bring back to school elementary students four days a week in a phased approach starting April 6, Superintendent David Piperato indicated that not all middle and high school students could return four days a week due to the size of the buildings and the complexity of the programs.
In a March 18 letter, Piperato encouraged parents and guardians to keep their secondary school students in hybrid if they have been "academically and emotionally successful" with that model.
He also stated about the in-person return four days a week, "Additional seats at the middle school and high school will be limited, and preference will be given to those students demonstrating a need, as determined by each school’s administrative and counseling staff."