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Students struggling? Expect a teacher call, Pasco parents.

Tampa Bay Times logo Tampa Bay Times 9/16/2020 By Jeffrey S. Solochek, Tampa Bay Times

Progress reports are expected to come out Friday for Pasco County public school students.

Some parents should expect more than words on paper.

“I have talked to staff about reaching out to parents when you see these kids who are falling through the cracks,” superintendent Kurt Browning said. “They have got to be informed if their child is not performing.”

Concerns run high in the district, as others across the state and nation, about learning losses after spring remote classes and summer break. Pasco schools have begun testing children to determine if they fell behind and, if so, how much.

But by now it should already be clear to teachers who needs more attention and, perhaps, a new approach, Browning suggested. He focused particularly on the students who are taking classes online and not making the connections they might need.

“Teachers are the professionals,” he said. “They are the final arbiter as to whether students are performing.”

If they see problems, they should call parents and explain the situation completely.

“Ultimately, the parent has got to make the decision whether or not they’re going to keep their child at home,” Browning said. “I want parents to have all the information before they decide.”

He acknowledged the situation isn’t easy for anyone. They have to balance health and safety concerns alongside academic ones.

Having experienced COVID-19 firsthand, Browning said he understands how bad the illness can be and how conflicted families might be. It’s the school district’s role to focus on student learning, and do what it can to prevent children struggling even more, Browning said.

That means making the tough phone calls, and not just leaving everything to chance.

“It’s not their fault that they find themselves in this COVID world. But it’s where we find ourselves,” Browning said. “So I think we have a responsibility that, if we see kids falling behind, we don’t just rely on a progress report.”

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©2020 the Tampa Bay Times (St. Petersburg, Fla.)

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