Like other school districts across the state, Allen ISD will require some remote-learning students to return to campus in January if their academic performance hasn’t been up to par this fall.
AISD sent a letter to parents last week stating that students participating in the district’s at-home learning model because of the COVID-19 pandemic will have to attend in-school classes beginning Jan. 5 if their academic performance is at a certain level.
“Allen ISD is committed to providing all students with an exceptional education and a safe learning environment,” the district stated. “While many of our at-home learners are flourishing in the virtual setting, some students have not been as successful academically. For those students who are at risk of not being promoted to the next grade level or not graduating on time, the district will require these students to attend in-person classes to help improve their academic engagement.”
The criteria that would require students to return to campus vary by grade level. For kindergarteners through first-graders, they would have to return if they are not meeting grade level expectations or if they have nine or more unexcused absences, the letter stated. The requirement for second- through sixth-graders is an average grade of 60 or below in one or more subject areas, not including art, music and PE, or they have nine or more unexcused absences.
Secondary students would have to return to campus if they have an average of 60 or below in one or more classes, if they have an average of 65 or below in two or more classes, or they are denied credit or at risk of having credit denied due to not meeting the minimum 90 percent seat time for attendance.
David Hicks, chief information officer, said it’s unclear how many students this change will impact since campuses are still collecting those numbers. But once those students have been identified their parents or guardians will receive letters informing them of the requirement. Those students will not be allowed to return to at-home learning for the rest of the 2020-21 school year, but there is an appeals process those families can go through.
“We want what is best for our students (in both safety and education), and we will work with our families to develop a plan that helps get our students back on the right track,” Hicks said.
Hicks added that these requirements fall in line with guidelines issued by the Texas Education Agency. But he said Allen’s guidelines are more lenient than those provided by the TEA. For example, the TEA states that a learning education agency can identify students to be discontinued from remote learning if they have a class average of 70 or below and/or has three or more unexcused absences in a grading period.
Parents can appeal the change by submitting a medical exemption or by requesting a transition meeting with the district.