High school campuses in Denton ISD soon might do away with the hybrid attendance model they’ve maintained for weeks.
The district first mentioned the possibility when Area Superintendent Gwen Perkins presented the proposal during Tuesday’s regular school board meeting.
Middle schoolers abandoned the hybrid model in September.
Board members considered the possibility of having students attend classes in person five days a week instead of in a staggered schedule at the start of the next grading period, which begins Oct. 26.
Students would return to a traditional “A/B” schedule. Those uncomfortable with the potential of a large influx of in-person students would be able to transition to remote learning, provided their grades are good enough.
Students learning remotely who are failing at least one subject might be required to attend classes in person, according to Perkins’ Tuesday presentation.
Board members did not vote on the proposal, and no formal decision was made Tuesday. High school and central office administrators met Wednesday afternoon to further discuss the possibility.
Perkins’ presentation covered several issues related to the cessation of the hybrid attendance model, including a higher rate of failed classes this year, as well as how the district plans to help teachers struggling with the heavier workload they’ve been given during the pandemic.
Board members focused largely on the other issues instead of the move away from the hybrid model specifically.
More than half of Denton ISD students enrolled to attend classes in person at the beginning of the 2020-21 school year.
Assuming the ratio of in-person to remote learners remains constant into the next grading period, and there is no firm indication that it would or would not, hundreds more students might soon head back to full-time, face-to-face classes.
Guyer High School, which had the lowest high school remote enrollment at the top of the school year, could see upward of 800 more students on campus each school day if many students currently learning in the hybrid model opt to continue attending classes in-person.
District officials Tuesday pointed to a higher number of failed classes as one factor for the potential move away from the hybrid model.
More than three times as many classes are at risk of being failed compared with this time a year ago, according to Perkins’ report. That does not necessarily mean three times as many students are failing a class, because some students might be failing more than one class.
At this point in the 2019-20 school year, Denton ISD high schools saw a failure rate of roughly 5%.
Superintendent Jamie Wilson on Tuesday said he would expect a higher failure rate this year, even if everybody were learning in person, because students’ progress was so disrupted for the last quarter of their past school year.
Students in the 2019-20 school year didn’t return to face-to-face learning after they left spring break in mid-March.
Another part of the problem is that teachers are divided between too many tasks, which now include chasing down participation, attendance and assignments with students online and in person.
“They can’t keep doing it,” Wilson said of teachers. “They just cannot.”