Wausau School District trying to turn around increased failing grades

Published: Dec. 18, 2020 at 7:48 PM CST
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - The Wausau School District is trying to help the large number of students failing classes. Achievement numbers show the number of F’s given out this quarter has tripled and quadrupled in some cases compared to 2019.

“Our kids are struggling and our staff is working incredibly hard,” said Dr. Keith Hilts, the superintendent for the Wausau School District.

Virtual learning through the Wausau school district in the first quarter has taken its toll in these next couple of months, they are trying to reverse it.

“We’re trying to get really innovative about how can we help students find ways to get back on track, to recover some of that learning right now,” said Jennifer Rauscher, the director of secondary education in the Wausau School District. She presented at a Wausau school board meeting about the struggles and their efforts to change it.

Last year’s first quarter saw 11 students with five or more unexcused absences. This year there are 137 students.

In addition, the number of F’s given to 9th graders increased by 350% in that same span.

“This situation is really demonstrating the significant impact that teachers, principals, and the school staff have on our students,” Rauscher emphasized.

A big way is a heightened emphasis on mid-year credit recovery. This is to help replace the credit lost faster than a normal summer course.

“That would really kind of accelerate and compact students learning and really get them back on track sooner,” Rauscher said.

A number of the interventions we’re looking at are really trying to give every opportunity for those children to have in-person,” Dr. Hilts added.

In-person learning is crucial to both students and staff.

“They would like to have more contact, more connection with their students,” Raucher said about the teachers.

Parents have a large part in their students’ success as well.

“They have a huge role to play in helping their child get connected, and stay connected and continue to do their school work,” Dr. Hilts said.

But staff will continue to work tirelessly like they know they need to.

“We are working hard. We are going to keep working hard because we know we want our students to leave us ultimately at the end of their 12 years of school with lots of doors open to them,” Rauscher said.

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