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Dallas ISD getting seniors on track to graduate after many fell behind from virtual learning

The district is making a nine-week push to ensure seniors in Dallas Independent School District can graduate at the end of the school year.
Credit: Jazmine - stock.adobe.com

DALLAS — With nine weeks left in the school year, the senior class of 2021 at Dallas Independent School District is finally back on campus five days a week.

"I miss my friends. I miss my teachers. I just miss that constant motivation that was around me," said Marquiese Henderson, a senior at Lincoln High School.

He said virtual learning has been tough, and he is excited to do in-person class again. 

"Seeing the same four walls every day, seeing the same computer, it just makes you want to crawl back in bed," said Henderson.

COVID-19 cases in Dallas County have dropped, so the district has reopened campuses to all high schoolers.

A slide shared with the Dallas ISD trustees on Thursday showed 60% of seniors are on track to graduate, while 40% are not. 

Mark Ramirez, DISD's Deputy Chief of School Leadership, said the district is working to help students who have fallen behind during the pandemic.

"We know who those students are, so now it's just providing those interventions," said Ramirez.

The district is making a nine-week push to ensure seniors can graduate at the end of the school year. "Finish Strong '21" is the name of its campaign. 

The district is offering a self-paced computer program called Reconnect, where students can catch up on work after school or on weekends.

Wednesdays, which have been "flex days," will be used as intervention days to help those struggling in certain classes. 

And some high school campuses may offer instruction on Saturdays too. 

"We have nine weeks to go and I know we can get them across the stage," said Ramirez. 

He feels confident they will get their future graduates back on track. Returning seniors to in-person learning is crucial to making that happen.

Henderson said feels great to be back in on campus knowing he is just a few weeks away from getting his high school diploma. 

"Get the work that I need to get done, and hopefully I will walk out of here with a diploma in one hand."