In Carlsbad, failing grades spike in middle, high school students amid distance learning


CARLSBAD, Calif. – Failing grades among middle and high school students spending their first part of the year distance learning are up more than 300% compared to last year, new data from the Carlsbad Unified School District shows.

The district also reported a 60% spike in students at the same level receiving a D grade.

On Wednesday, district’s Board of Education approved a plan for middle and high school students to resume in-person learning Jan. 5, a decision made against the calls of some parents rallying for campuses to reopen sooner. Under the plan, two cohorts of students would learn in person two days per week while doing distance learning the rest of the week.

Some high school students also could return to schools by Nov. 30 in a pilot program.

It has been a year of adjustments for many, including parent Amber Engebrits. She works full time while her son Tyler, a seventh grader at Valley Middle School, is distance learning.

Engebrits said she never expected her son would fall into a failing category.

“I believe he is an average student,” she said. “He tries his best. He gets some A’s, he gets some B’s, and sometimes he gets some C’s.”

His recent report card included two F’s and a D as well as several A’s, she said. But Tyler has an IEP, or Individualized Education Program. Engebrits argues that the IEP isn’t being carried out in the online format, and it’s causing her son’s grades to suffer.

“He’s at home trying to figure it out all by himself,” she said. “Online with no one, no parent there to assist him and on top of that, he has a learning disability.”

The board meets again on Nov. 18 to discuss implementation of in-person learning plans.

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