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Waxahachie ISD will resume in-person learning for all students Nov. 2, with campus principals determining on a case-by-case basis and by certain criteria any students who will continue learning online.

Administrators presented data and information to the school board during their meeting Monday night, with discussion indicating increasing problems with at-home learning.

Of particular concern are those students who are failing the majority of their classes. As an example, one high school student is failing five of eight classes, with a grade of 3 in art and a 17 in English. Another high school student is failing six classes, including a grade of 15 in AP history.

High school principal Tonya Harris said the problems include students not logging in, not participating in class Zoom sessions and not submitting assignments.

“It’s bad,” she told the board. “The average grade for an online student is a 36.”

There were other factors noted, as well, including that of older students who are having to babysit their younger siblings because their parents have returned to work.

Principals from all levels were in attendance at the meeting, with the board members concurring that the sooner students return to the classroom the better. It was also noted that other districts are experiencing the same issues.

The criteria that will be used to determine whether a student can remain online is having a 97% or better attendance online, a grade point average of 85 or above and a verified medical reason to remain at home.

“Our principals know their kids,” superintendent Dr. Bonny Cain said. “We have no problem with our principals saying a kid has to stay online.”

Nov. 2 represents the first day of the third six weeks grading period, with planning to get under way immediately along with notification to parents.

“We will double down on our safety measures,” Cain said. “We will make certain that those continue.”

Initial discussion indicated the high school would proceed to returning all students Nov. 2; however, the principals at the elementary and junior high also indicated their desire at the meeting to move ahead with the return as opposed to waiting to the second semester.

It was noted that Waxahachie Global High School has different circumstances due to its being an early college school and the colleges/universities with which it’s involved.  

After bringing the students back Nov. 2, the district will also focus on locating those students who haven’t been heard from.

“This will give us that opportunity to start nailing down those kids who aren’t back face to face,” Harris said, noting that while it’s known that some students have moved, there are others whose whereabouts are unknown.  

In other business, the board heard reports on continuing education hours for trustees, the District Improvement Plan and the Campus Improvement Plans.

Assistant Superintendent Ryan Kahlden presented reports on the CCMR Outcomes bonus that relates to a district’s graduates who go on to enroll in college, join the military or receive a certification within a certain time frame. He also discussed upcoming changes to the FIRST Rating system, which looks at a district’s financial standing.

Recognitions were given to Everett Johnson of Wilemon STEAM Academy and Guadalupe Martinez of Howard Junior High for contributions to their respective campuses. The board also recognized staff members in the Human Resources department for Education Human Resource Day.

District administrators answered questions from the board on policies relating to students and transportation, with that information to be placed online for parents.

The board approved the consent agenda, which included:

• Minutes from previous meetings

• Monthly financial reports

• Interlocal agreement to join purchasing cooperative

• Remit final payment to the Nay Company for the agriscience facility

• Acknowledgement of Simpson Elementary as substantially complete

• Granting an easement to Oncor

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