Good news, bad news as Roanoke County checks grades

Published: Dec. 11, 2020 at 1:55 AM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - The good news, for Roanoke County Schools, is that first quarter grades show the vast majority of students are doing well.

“I think if you look at the data, across the board, especially at the elementary level, we’re seeing very consistent grades compared to last year,” said Mike Riley, Roanoke County’s executive director of secondary education.

Thursday night, Riley presented a breakdown of the grades county students received in their first nine weeks.

The data show at all levels - elementary, middle and high - the percent of A’s and B’s students receive has remained consistent when compared to previous years, both for hybrid and online classes. Riley says that shows Roanoke County’s COVID curriculum is solid.

“Students are able to really participate in all the things we’re providing, whether it’s some of the online content teachers are providing, participating in our help days on Wednesdays,” said Riley.

But not all students are passing with flying colors. For middle and high schoolers, the number of F’s has jumped sharply, up nine percent for middle schoolers learning all online, and 12 percent for online high schoolers.

Some board members expressed serious concerns. “These numbers ... I mean to me, they’re disturbing,” said David Linden.

The cause of that increase, according to Riley, is clear: students not turning in work, or just never logging into class at all.

“What we’re looking to do is find ways to try and engage those kids. Whether it’s inviting them back in, via the hybrid, continue to encourage them to participate in those sessions, or doing home visits,” said Riley.

Getting these students back remains a work in progress.

“Of course there’s room for improvement, which we are doing,” said Board Chair Mike Wray. Wray says despite those issues, he believes, over all, the district is moving in the right direction.

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