Washington Co., Tenn. school officials: 31% of seniors are failing at least one class

Keeping Schools Safe

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) – During a Washington County, Tennessee Board of Education meeting Thursday night, it was revealed that a few hundred seniors are failing at least one of their classes.

A total of 31% or 218 seniors at Daniel Boone High School and David Crockett High School are failing at least one of their classes, according to school officials.

While the term “failing” does raise some red flags, Secondary Education Assistant Director of Schools, Ashley Keys, said it’s not as serious as it sounds.

“It’s because they’re not turning in assignments, so you know, a zero is going to really bring a grade down and there are not a lot of grades in the computer right now so just a zero or a couple of zeros from not turning in an assignment can cause a student to have an F right now,” said Keys.

At Thursday’s meeting, the decision was made to go back to a staggered hybrid schedule starting September 21.

That means students will have a few more weeks of virtual learning.

“I haven’t had a problem with online learning but some have and they really need that in-person learning to succeed,” said student school board representative, Caleb Anderson.

Caleb Anderson is a senior who serves on the school board as a student representative and he understands how online classes can be. While he says he’s fine with them and said he doesn’t have issues keeping up with the workload, that’s not the case for everyone.

“When you’re in person, the teacher is there to nudge you along and I feel like that’s maybe missing with the online learning,” said Anderson.

“In-person, we still have students who do not turn in assignments but it’s much easier to get them to turn them in because the teachers can just walk up and say pick up your pencil, let’s get this done,” said Keys.

While 31% of seniors failing at least one class is concerning to most, officials with the school board said it’s not because of issues with virtual learning or the level of difficulty of the course but because of those students not turning in assignments with so little grades entered so far. It’s also hard to tell if students are truly engaged in the class or looking at something else on their screen while the course is active.

It’s only week 4 of an 18-week course, which means even missing one assignment can lead to a failing grade. However, Anderson said this would be an issue regardless of the online learning situation, but does believe it is a little more difficult to be motivated through a computer screen.

“In previous years, there’s always going to be a percentage of students that are failing at any given time, but that’s always fixable,” said Anderson.

With students going back to partial in-person learning on the staggered schedule Keys believes that will help those struggling students turn around their grades.

“I just want to be proactive and get them in the building to get some face to face time with teachers and get that work turned in because some of these students plan to graduate in December, so we’re on a deadline,” said Keys.

Keys said it’s still early on in the semester and there’s still plenty of time to get these seniors back on track because helping them graduate is their priority.

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