All three of the district’s high schools reported a decline in on-campus learners with an average of 7% of students opting to stay home after previously attending classes in person. The greatest decrease was at Georgetown High School with a 10% decline, followed by 9% decrease at East View High School and a 2% decrease at Richarte High School.
The trend was also seen in Round Rock ISD, where 86% of its high schoolers chose to continue learning from home.
Trustee Ben Stewart said during an Oct. 19 school board workshop meeting that he encourages the board not to take the decline as an immediate negative.
“I think we should avoid the natural tendency to look at kids not wanting to come back as a bad thing,” Stewart said. “I’m not saying it’s a good or bad; at this point, it's just kids that age are starting to see efficiencies in doing things remotely. I know I do personally.”
Superintendent Fred Brent agreed, saying the district heavily prioritized its remote learning plans and curriculum to ensure it was equivalent to what students would receive in the classroom, so this may be why high school students are opting to stay home.
“When you’re accustomed to being all things for students and having school that way, you’re geared towards thinking they all should want to come back, and if they’re not all coming back, what are we doing wrong?” Brent said.
While the district saw a decrease in on-campus learners at the high school level, it did see an increase at the elementary and middle school levels. And overall, the district had 1,200 more students coming to campus in the second nine weeks than the previous nine weeks, accounting for about 65% of its student population returning to in-person learning, the district said. The second nine weeks began Oct. 19.
GISD also altered its school calendar, allotting five extra student holidays throughout the school year to allow for teachers to have more time to plan lessons.
“We have teachers doing both remote and in person, and one thing that we know is this is not sustainable,” Brent said. “It’s not sustainable to have this volume of work for all of our teachers.”