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Hays CISD prioritizes credit recovery early on

By Megan  Wehring

HAYS CISD — For those students who have fallen behind due to pandemic stresses, Hays CISD is offering credit recovery early into the spring semester to allow them more time to get back on track. 

In an effort to ensure that high school students are prepared to graduate, the district is giving students an early start on making up classes they have failed; this would typically not take place until right before summer school.

While there were many trainings for the Schoology Learning Management System (LMS), Hays CISD saw thousands of students fail classes last semester after the transition into virtual learning. The district believes the students need more time to catch up. 

Credit recovery will look different per campus. Letters will be sent home for parents to understand the situation for their specific student.

“We knew this was going to be a challenging year,” said Derek McDaniel, director of curriculum and instruction. 

Communication has been key, according to McDaniel, for campuses to reach out to parents and inform them of the situation with their student. 

“We always ask parents and students, ‘What do you need,’” McDaniel said. “If something is not working for you, what do you need and what can we do to help support you?”

The district is working on several approaches to contact students. David Pierce, principal at Hays High School, said he favors the home visits. 

“I knocked on doors and had conversations, conferences right there in the driveway,” Pierce said. “We were able to get a lot of the kids back.”

Brett Miksch, principal at Johnson High School, said they are stressing the importance of students coming back to campus again since in-person students are having more success.

“We are just trying to meet them where they are at,” Miksch said. “Our main focus in the spring is to give them hope. For those kids who did nothing or did not participate, we are trying to cast that net out there to give them hope through credit recovery.”

Miksch is reminding students that the credit recovery does not have to be completed or crammed into one session — it will take time. 

“We are going to work with you,” Miksch said. “We will get through this. We do not have to just chalk up 2021 as a wash. We can get through and get you those credits.”

Karen Zuniga, principal at Lehman High School, said there are 69 Lehman seniors who are at the concerning level with 12 that need to attend summer school. Last April, there were 44 seniors at that level with 24 that graduated during the summer. 

Zuniga credits the teachers who have pushed through.

“You hit a pandemic and [teachers]are doing even better than anything they have done in a long time,” Zuniga said. “They are taking initiative and all they really care about is the students.”

Below is a chart of all the opportunities that Hays CISD is offering for high school students. 

Hays CISD recovery opportunities chart.

About Author

Megan Navarro (formerly Wehring) graduated from Texas State University in May 2020 with a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication. In June 2020, she started a summer internship at the Hays Free Press/News-Dispatch through the Dow Jones News Fund and Texas Press Association. She then earned her way to a reporter position later that summer and now, she serves as the editor of the newspaper. Working for a small publication, Navarro wears multiple hats. She has various responsibilities including managing a team of reporters, making editorial decisions, overseeing social media posts, fact checking, writing her own articles and more. Navarro has a heart for storytelling and she believes that journalists are equipped to share the stories that are important to the community.

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