More Arkansas students failing classes amid COVID-19 pandemic

An analysis by the Pulaski County Special School District showed a large number of students were failing for not turning in their work.

PULASKI COUNTY, ARKANSAS, Ark. — The Pulaski County Special School District says many students are failing classes amid the pandemic.

More students than in years passed are failing one or more classes.

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“It’s worrying us to the point we have created some groups of teachers that have come together to create a systemic way of how we support our kids,” said Alesia Smith, deputy superintendent.

After the district did an analysis, they found a large number of students are failing because they are not getting their worked turned in.

Smith said the district fears the pandemic plays a big roll in this issue.

“The chaos around all of this, it’s a little more difficult to reach our students,” Smith said.

Smith said for instance, several elementary schools have around 50 to 60 students with D and F grades, which is not typical.

“We have 16 elementary schools, you do the math, that’s a lot of struggling students,” said Smith.

Teachers are working to give students who are behind extra time to catch up, considering the circumstances.

But, they say, help from parents is needed, especially from home while making sure they are staying in constant contact with their child’s teacher on Schoology.

“They would see what assignments their child is missing,” said Smith. “They’ll see what the upcoming assignments are. They’ll have an email to email the teacher.”

The district is also re-opening a student call center that they originally set-up when the pandemic hit last school year.

Tutors will be available for students who need to boost their grades back up.

“Everyday, if you get up and do the best you can, that’s all we ask,” said Smith.

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The district has meetings planned for after Thanksgiving break. The groups of teachers and staff plan to problem-solve this issue to figure out ways they can better help students.