Cy-Fair ISD students falling behind due to lost instructional time during COVID-19 pandemic

Cy-Fair ISD officials said they are concerned about remote learners falling behind their peers who are attending classes on campuses. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Cy-Fair ISD officials said they are concerned about remote learners falling behind their peers who are attending classes on campuses. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Cy-Fair ISD officials said they are concerned about remote learners falling behind their peers who are attending classes on campuses. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Cy-Fair ISD data shows just how prevalent the learning gap has become this school year due to lost instructional time in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Chief Academic Officer Linda Macias told board trustees Feb. 8 she believes it would take two years to get students back to where they need to be academically.

District officials said they are concerned about the group of students who have participated in virtual learning all school year as these students are falling behind their peers taking their classes in person.

The African American, economically disadvantaged and Hispanic student populations respectively appear to be struggling the most, according to district data. Macias said 38% of African American students in CFISD are learning remotely, but these three subgroups have historically performed below their white and more affluent peers.

“These data are certainly indicating that the lost instructional time due to the COVID-19 pandemic has indeed created some significant learning gaps for our students,” she said. “I heard a presenter that called it not so much gaps as much as unfinished learning—they have not had the opportunity to have all the instruction, the learning that needs to be occurring.”

The district’s diagnostic tool for elementary students compared student performance from January 2020 to January 2021 and found the percentage of students reading on grade level dropped from 77% to 61%. However, reading levels have improved by about 9% overall from fall 2020 to spring 2021, Macias said.


Additionally, 78% of elementary students were hitting their math targets a year ago compared to 60% now.

Data for secondary levels shows the percentage of students from various demographics who scored 70% or higher this spring on standards taught in the fall.

While 36% of remote students and 18% of on-campus students were failing at least one course in the second grading period compared to 16% of students during the same time frame in 2019-20, students taking virtual courses performed as well as or better than those taking classes in person when it came to mastering the district’s standards.

When measured against the state’s lower standards, Macias said between 82%-87% of high school students are on track to pass their end-of-course exams later this spring.



Macias said several efforts are being made to help close these gaps, including opening summer school up to any student needing extra support at no cost to parents, having administrators make phone calls and visits to parents of students who are struggling, in-person and virtual tutoring opportunities, Saturday sessions being offered at some campuses, and additional resources for parents and students in the Schoology platform.

Additionally, high school teachers are offering additional chances on assignments and assessments for seniors at risk of failing classes to keep them on track to graduate, she said.

“Our teachers are doing a fantastic job, but there’s a lot of missed instructional time just because of the situation that we’re in,” Macias said. “They’ve got their groups going in their classroom; they have their groups going virtually, and it takes time to go from group to group to group.”
By Danica Lloyd
Danica joined Community Impact Newspaper as a Cy-Fair reporter in May 2016 after graduating with a journalism degree from Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. She became editor of the Cy-Fair edition in March 2020 and continues to cover education, local government, business, demographic trends, real estate development and nonprofits.


MOST RECENT

As of 11:30 a.m. on March 2, eight areas across Harris County remained under boil water notice affecting about 2,300 residents. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Thousands in unincorporated Harris County remain under boil notices

As of 11:30 a.m. on March 2, eight areas across Harris County remained under boil water notice affecting about 2,300 residents.

A face mask policy has been in place this school year—it states that all staff and pre-K-12 students must wear masks in common areas and in classrooms when social distancing is not feasible. (Courtesy Cy-Fair ISD)
Cy-Fair ISD officials: Face mask policy will remain in place until further notice

A face mask policy has been in place this school year—it states that all staff and pre-K-12 students must wear masks in common areas and in classrooms when social distancing is not feasible.

Cy-Hope was named Nonprofit of the Year. (Danica Lloyd/Community Impact Newspaper)
Cy-Fair Houston Chamber of Commerce recognizes 2020 award winners

Winners included a nonprofit and three local businesses that gave back to the Cy-Fair community and overcame challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Houston Ballet Nutcracker Market is returning in person for its spring iteration. (Courtesy Jennifer Greene/HoustonBallet)
Houston Nutcracker Market to make in-person return this spring

Of the 150 merchants on the roster, nearly 50 will be making their spring debut in 2021.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced March 2 that mask mandates and business capacity restrictions will be lifted in Texas. (Courtesy Office of the Texas Governor)
Gov. Greg Abbott lifts statewide mask mandate, business restrictions in Texas

With vaccine distribution increasing, Gov. Greg Abbott said "people and businesses don't need the state telling them how to operate." Some local officials are pushing back, saying the relaxed restrictions are coming too early.

Kiddie Academy opened in January. (Courtesy Havas Formula)
New Kiddie Academy location opens in northwest Houston

Curriculum at Kiddie Academy of Cypresswood promotes intellectual, social, physical and emotional growth, officials said.

COVID-19 rates in Cy-Fair ISD trended down throughout February. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
89 new COVID-19 cases reported in Cy-Fair ISD schools Feb. 22-28

After districtwide cases spiked in January with more than 300 per week on average, the numbers began trending down in February, mirroring Harris County's trends.

Most of the electric grid in Texas is managed by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which is not linked to other interconnected national electrical systems. (Courtesy Electric Reliability Council of Texas)
Leaving the Texas power grid 'not likely to be an option' for Harris County, official says

Just two weeks after severe winter weather dropped Harris County temperatures below freezing for three consecutive days, which led to widespread power outages, loss of water and the deaths of at least 50 county residents, Harris County Commissioners Court called for major reform at the state level regarding the Texas power grid and related energy policies.

Hank's Crab Shack gets and sells several hundred pounds of crawfish daily, especially during the peak of crawfish season. (Morgan Theophil/Community Impact Newspaper)
Hank's Crab Shack serving Katy; 16 Spring-Klein business updates and more Houston-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Houston area.

Harris County continues to confirm more COVID-19 cases in Cy-Fair ISD. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Cy-Fair’s COVID-19 cases down 50% month over month

The number of active cases in Cy-Fair has not been this low since late November, but 34 local residents died with COVID-19 in February—up from 16 in January.

An effort to widen White Oak Bayou is one of several flood mitigation projects that are moving forward in Jersey Village, according to a series of Nov. 30 announcements. (Shawn Arrajj/Community Impact Newspaper)
Contract approved for two flood-control projects in Jersey Village

Two flood-control projects in the city of Jersey Village are moving forward after city council members unanimously approved two contracts at a Feb. 22 meeting.

Houston City Hall in rainbow lighting
Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce celebrates five years of service

The organization is open to all and serves members throughout the Greater Houston area.