More Fresno, CA students are failing classes this year

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This school year, 23{c25493dcd731343503a084f08c3848bd69f9f2f05db01633325a3fd40d9cc7a1} of students in grades 3-8 have at least one failing grade, a significant jump from the last school year, which was at 12{c25493dcd731343503a084f08c3848bd69f9f2f05db01633325a3fd40d9cc7a1}, Fresno Unified data found.

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A recent academic assessment shows more Fresno Unified students performed at their appropriate grade level this year compared to the same time last year.

That’s good news for teachers and parents concerned that months of remote learning during the pandemic could lead to learning loss. But, in terms of student academic performance, not all the news is good.

A higher percentage of Fresno Unified students are receiving Fs.

This school year, 23{c25493dcd731343503a084f08c3848bd69f9f2f05db01633325a3fd40d9cc7a1} of students in grades 3-8 have at least one failing grade, a significant jump from the last school year, which was at 12{c25493dcd731343503a084f08c3848bd69f9f2f05db01633325a3fd40d9cc7a1}, Fresno Unified data found.

The Clovis Unified School District told the Ed Lab that students have been struggling academically this year. In particular, students in transition grades, like going from middle to high school, haven’t had the opportunity to connect with their new learning environments.

The Ed Lab interviewed nearly two dozen students, parents, and teachers about their challenges and distance learning experiences. Learning losses during the coronavirus pandemic have hit some students harder than others. However, students who spoke with The Bee said they’re struggling with more than academics.

“When I think about how much we have lost, I think about the safe environment, the classroom we give children, and support of social and emotional health that cannot be disregarded,” a teacher and parent told The Ed Lab. “I can’t reiterate that enough.”

The California Department of Education hosted an online forum last week about recognizing the sign of mental health distress. You can watch the event here.

Read our full story here.

This California school district won’t be giving out any Fs.

As more Fresno students received at least one failing grade this school year, the Los Angeles Unified School District decided students will not receive any Fs.

On Monday, the L.A. Times reported L.A. Unified would not be giving out failing grades until at least Jan. 29 to avoid penalizing students during a time when families are under more stress. Compared to the previous school year, the L.A. Times reported, grades have significantly dropped, especially for Black, Latino, English learners, foster, and homeless youth.

The decision received praise from the teachers union and advocacy groups, the L.A. Times story said.

Fresno’s Central Unified students won’t be returning for a while

Fresno’s Central Unified School District, the county’s third-largest district, voted to wait until Fresno County r2 in the state’s color-coded coronavirus safety measures and restrictions.

Central Unified Superintendent Andrew Alvarado speculated that it could be February or March or longer before Fresno reaches a less restrictive tier.

“We’ve taken a very scientific approach to that decision making,” Alvarado said.

Fresno County, the state’s most restrictive tier, on Nov. 16 and is currently under a stay-at-home order due to a shortage of Intensive Care Unit beds in the central San Joaquin Valley.

Read the full story here.

CSU ‘party schools’ have more COVID-19 cases

Be on the lookout this morning for Ashleigh Panoo’s story examining why some state colleges have the highest percentage of COVID-19 cases.

“There are parties all the time,” one student told the Ed Lab. “Especially for Halloween. There were multiple parties, and no one here wears masks, not even maintenance or the office personnel.”

Read Ashleigh’s story here.

The Digital Divide: Tell us your story

Does your household have enough broadband? The Education Lab is exploring a series of stories about the digital divide in Fresno County.

Last spring, readers told us about shortages of laptops and tablets among local students. Now we are asking community members, teachers, professors, and students to help us once again with our reporting.

The Ed Lab has created this short survey to understand the broadband situation teachers students and professors face. Please fill out and share with others.

Thanks for helping to tell this story.

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Ayuda al Fresno Bee Laboratorio de Educación entender como el acceso a internet está afectando los estudiantes y educadores de Fresno con llenar esta encuesta. Puedes llenar la encuesta en ingles o español.

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Ask the Ed Lab

Do you have an education question you’d like for us to answer? Have a story tip? Contact the Ed Lab team at [email protected]

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Monica Velez is the early education and K-12 reporter for The Bee’s Education Lab. The daughter of Salvadoran immigrants covered immigration for Valley Public Radio and worked as a health reporter at The Bee’s sister paper, The Merced Sun-Star. Velez, a Bay Area native, earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism and minored in creative writing from California State University, Sacramento.

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