ROUND ROCK, Texas — Looking back on the past several months of school amid the coronavirus pandemic, Round Rock ISD leaders said many students' grades are suffering.
At a school board meeting on Nov. 12, district leaders discussed the grades they are seeing among the student population.
"I've never seen grades like that before. This is a straight-A student, straight As, great student. He was failing in three weeks," said Round Rock ISD Board of Trustees member Cory Vessa. She made the comments as she shared her children's experience this 2020-21 school year.
She said her kids struggled with virtual learning, but she saw them succeed more when they returned to the classroom.
Her students aren't the only ones struggling this year in the district.
At the high school level, 27% of the district's students earned scores below 70 in at least one class in the first nine weeks of the school year. Last year, that was the case for about 15% of the students.
In Round Rock middle schools, about 23% of students earned a score below 70, compared to 8% last year.
At the board meeting, leaders said many students are dealing with food insecurity and housing insecurity. Some students are trying to find jobs to help their families survive.
"There have definitely been a lot of challenges that our kids have faced that we can't even comprehend," said Mandy Estes, chief of teaching and learning at Round Rock ISD.
District leaders said they are coming up with new ways to help students bounce back.
Round Rock ISD isn't the only district noticing an alarming trend in grades.
Austin ISD has reported a 70% increase in the failure rate among students, and Hays CISD reported a 30% increase of students failing this year.
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