It’s hard to believe but we are closing in on the end of another school year, about to enjoy the excitement of graduation, end-of-year ceremonies, and celebrations. As a school district, our goal is to bring each year safely to a close, and with the challenges of the pandemic, we consider keeping our school doors open and adequate numbers of teachers to fill our classroom a big success. I couldn’t be more grateful to everyone for their shared commitment to making this happen.
Even though we have been met with the biggest challenges I have ever experienced as an educator, teachers taught and kids learned. Success can be measured in advancement to the next grade level, graduation, performance on the college entrance exams, and college admission to name but a few. The pandemic has been tough in measurements we consider vital to the growth and well-being of the kiddos we serve.
School districts in Texas have experienced a marked decrease in daily student attendance and Wylie has shared this drop.
Keeping our kids healthy and safe remains our priority, but missing school means missing instruction and can create gaps in learning. We’re tracking and filling those gaps as best we can. Thankfully, we have the best teachers on the planet, so our learning gaps are much smaller than in other districts.
STUDENT BEHAVIOR & EMOTIONAL SUPPORT NEEDS
The pandemic has impacted our students more than gaps in learning. Some virtual students entered our schools for in-person learning after more than a year in isolation from their peers. With all but a handful of students experiencing in-person learning this year, student discipline experienced an all-time high during the first semester. Our high school principals explained it best, “there are some tenth graders who have not socialized with their peers since eighth grade.” That’s a lot of maturity to make up in a short amount of time. Thankfully, with great kids, teachers, parents, and principals, we are filling those needs and starting to see students adjusting.
We also saw an increase in the number of students who needed emotional health support. This resulted in a nearly 117% increase in the number of visits our high school student support advocates have seen this year.
We remain vigilant as we know a number of our students need continued support, and our counselors are ready to assist. Thanks for your ongoing patience, support, and understanding as we do our best to get our kids back on track in every aspect of their school experience.
GROWTH AND ACHIEVEMENT
Getting students to regularly attend school and their behavior are important, but learning, growing, and achieving annual academic growth remains the primary function of a school and we take this role quite seriously. The pandemic has created gaps in learning that have resulted in declines in academic growth across the globe. While these gaps do exist in Wylie ISD, as noted earlier, they are much smaller than most. Generally, we are finding a 5% gap in student growth when compared to 2019, the last year before the pandemic.
Students have or will participate in the STAAR test and we believe that our Wylie ISD kids are better prepared for success than anyone in Texas. While we hope for the best, our goal for every student is growth in learning. The STAAR remains one measurement of many in our learning portfolio of student success.
THERE’S A PLAN!
Our teams have plan upon plan to help all of our kids grow and succeed. From campus interventionists and increased tutoring supports to additional counselors and equipping our phenomenal staff with the tools to encourage and support, we have no doubt these setbacks will be part of our past soon enough.
We also encourage you not to worry, your kids will get there both socially and academically. In fact, every metric we have to measure their progress is pointing in a positive direction. Together, we will help our kids will learn, grow and achieve… the Wylie Way!