PSUSD works to help students remotely as failing grades increase

PSUSD works to help students remotely as failing grades increase

Olivia Sandusky

Maresa Salvail describes her daughter’s year of distance learning at Palm Springs High School as challenging, isolating and lonely.

“For the most part, most teachers are doing everything possible, but it’s just not the same and it’s taking a toll, it really is. I don’t think my daughter’s getting the same education,” said Salvail. 

The school year has been challenging for students and educators alike as they adjust to remote programs.

As a result, Palm Springs Unified School district reports failing grades are up 10 to 15 percent in their middle and high schools.

Topping the list are middle school sciences, where over 40 percent of students grades are currently an F.

 The assistant superintendent of education at PSUSD says it’s due to a few key factors.

“When children come to school everyday there’s a whole team of professionals to spend the entire day working to encourage and motivate them, to provide counseling and support if students are facing challenges, and while we’re working very hard to continue to do that it is different doing it online versus being able to do it in person,” said Dr. Mike Swize.

But the trend is not specific to the Palm Springs district.

In a recent study, the research center PACE says there’s been significant learning loss across the state, with younger students impacted the most.

“I worry about her going to college in two years from now, and how is this taking a toll. Is she going to be prepared?” asked Salvail.

Riverside County’s COVID-19 case rate is still about four times the amount needed for students to return to school, meaning distance learning will continue for the foreseeable future.

With the end of the school year rapidly approaching, Dr. Swize says changes are being made to help students.

“We really want to do give students the opportunity to maybe make up some work they were missing or maybe retake a test, and then work with teachers around strategies to help support those students,” said Dr. Swize.

But parents are still worried about potential long-term impacts. 

“This is nobody’s fault, it’s the virus’s fault, but we are going to have to figure out some sort of solution, because this just can go on forever,” said Salvail. 

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