DUNCANVILLE, Texas — It is just a few weeks into the second half of what’s being described as a challenging school year.
"It has been very interesting trying to navigate some of the challenges,” said Dr. Marc Smith, superintendent of Duncanville Independent School District.
School administrators are exploring ways to be creative in reconnecting with some students during this pandemic.
"We worked with our principals to be able to identify students who had a large number of absences and who were failing multiple courses,” said Smith.
Data shows some students are still having trouble adjusting to a virtual learning environment. Some students are not staying as engaged as schools would like.
”It could be that they don’t have the technology. It could be that they don’t have the connectivity, or it could be that they’ve just checked out because they’re struggling academically, trying to keep up with their classes virtually,” said Smith.
Duncanville ISD is focused on doing something about the challenge.
Beginning Saturday, Jan. 23 volunteers with the school district will be visiting the homes of about 100 students. They’ll be checking in with families.
"We felt like we needed to be proactive. We needed to take that step, so that they can see us, and feel us, and re-connect with us. And we can be able to look them in the face and just let them know how important it is that they get back connected into school,” said Smith.
It is a similar challenge school districts across North Texas are facing during the pandemic. Dallas ISD is among those dealing with what some educators are describing as the COVID slide.
Deputy Chief Academic Officer Derek Little said staff is exploring ways to minimize learning loss, including looking at expanding the school’s calendar.
"We know that there is strong research to show that when students have more time engaged in high quality learning, they benefit academically. So, we’re really trying to re-think how we allocate time over the next two school years,” said Little.
Educators in Duncanville ISD say the home visits this weekend are all about reconnecting, engaging, and finding out what it is school staff can do to help students and parents.