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Duluth Public Schools notice failure rate rise

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DULUTH, MN-- The COVID-19 pandemic has put a strain on the education system across the country, Duluth schools are no exception.

"As a country, we are facing one of the largest challenges that have ever been faced educationally, we have students who are struggling, students who are failing," said Superintendent of Duluth Public Schools, John Magas.

Denfeld High School Principal, Tom Tusken says they don't have specific numbers just yet, but failure rates are significantly higher this year.

"Failure rates we've seen not just year to year but when you look at this year compared to trends you've seen in the past so it's substantially higher," said Tusken.

Tusken adds the school district can measure failure rates using new state guidelines developed during the pandemic.

"This year we are addressing failure with students that are earning less than 60% in a class."

Tusken adds the school district isn't giving out F's as part of the state guidelines and is showing grace during a difficult time.

"Kids that are not meeting that 60% threshold in Duluth is receiving no credits, instead of an F."

Teachers then meet with students on an individual basis to explore options to bump up their grades.

Magas adds school officials are working hard to make sure every child is ready to transition to the next grade.

"[We are] Thinking about how we are going to help our seniors and upperclassmen get to a point to where they are graduating is really one of our next important steps but really, we are focused on helping all of our students."

School officials are also working on creating avenues for help.

"There is a lot of conversation around summer school, we have quite a few innovative tutoring programs," said Magas.

Magas said parents can also do their part at home starting with talking with their child about how they're doing in school.

Lyanne Valdez

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