SALEM, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon schools remain mostly shuttered for now, especially as the coronavirus surges and not being able to meet state metrics for re-opening any time soon.
Distance learning is not easy. In fact, the second-largest school district in the state, Salem-Keizer, said almost half their high school students had at least one class they were failing this fall. That’s 3 to 4 times higher than normal.
McNary High School Principal Erik Jespersen told KOIN 6 News he found 38% of the grades were F’s. He began working with teachers and staff to try and turn it around.
Among the problems they found were students having trouble navigating the online portals, staying motivated and organized when there is no in-person interaction, and teachers have trouble remotely identifying issues students may have.
The school began reaching out to students to offer more in-person help, bringing small groups of students in as allowed under Oregon law to work with mentors.
“I’m a firm believer that in education it is about the personal relationships that teachers and instructional assistants and office staff and administrators make with kids that turns the dial,” Jespersen said. “We’re doing everything we can to preserve that while also making sure we are safe.”
Grades have already improved since October 20 when he identified what was happening.