GONZALES — Gonzales City Council recently heard an update on schools from Gonzales Unified School District Superintendent Yvette Irving.
Among the information presented at the April 5 meeting was that fewer high school seniors were facing risk of not graduating, and that the creation of fifth-year super seniors might be a reality in the upcoming academic year.
Irving confirmed the reopening plans set in motion earlier, saying transitional kindergarten through second grade would return to school on April 12, grades three through five on April 15, and eighth graders and high school seniors on April 19.
“By the time our students come back on the 19th, it is completely feasible that we will be moving toward an accelerated return of all remaining grades,” Irving said of the district’s reopening plans and how the state’s speedier reopening plans may alter them.
Irving described a three-phase plan for reopening schools in the district, which began with the reopening plans this semester, would kick into phase two over a six-week summer school for all grades, and would conclude the third phase with the beginning of next school year in the fall.
Along the way, the schools would focus on socio-emotional wellness of the students who have just lived through more than a year of coronavirus pandemic alterations of their lives, but also focus on learning intervention and grade recovery.
“Each of these phases is contingent upon parents who choose to have their children educated on site in person, but also allowing the option for continued distance learning for those families who are not ready to send their students back,” Irving said.
Councilwoman Lorraine Worthy expressed concern for the impact on seniors and the large numbers earlier announced at risk of not graduating.
Irving explained the first semester analysis showed approximately 60 seniors at Gonzales High School were at risk of not graduating, but the number has since been reduced to 30.
“That’s been because of coordinated efforts in terms of extra programming and extra work on the part of the students themselves as well as staff,” she said.
To accommodate seniors in need of credit recovery, Irving said the district will have seniors in summer school and is considering an August graduation in addition to the plans for a June graduation.
She added that super seniors, students attending a fifth year of high school, will be the district’s way of providing a catch-up opportunity for those still needing to earn their diploma.