HEARNE, TX — Hearne ISD recently announced that high school students will be required to attend classes in-person if that student is failing, or picking up too many absences, using remote learning.
Hearne High School is just one of several Brazos Valley schools to instate such a rule for students learning virtually, including College Station ISD and Caldwell ISD. On Jan 29, Hearne educators updated families through a bi-monthly YouTube upload called the ‘Eagle Check-In.’ The update stated that high school students with excessive absences, or who failed classes last semester, will now be required to show up in-person.
“We’ve always asked parents to send students to school if they were struggling," noted Dr. Bruce Hill, principal of Hearne High School. "I think what came about with the change when we had more of a leg to stand on, was when the TEA [Texas Education Agency] gave guidance.”
Hearne HS welding teacher Patrick Berlan said that it was evident to himself, and his colleagues, towards the beginning of the pandemic, that even strong and responsible students have faced some struggles when adjusting to the different online learning platforms.
"It's just the newness of something," Berlan explained. "You tell a kid that they’re not going to school, and we’re [learning] all virtually, and it’s kind of – well, it’s field trip day for the end of COVID.”
Both Hill and Berlan said that updated communication with parents and guardians has been important for student success. Principal Hill explained that families would be warned of academic issues well before in-person attendance would be enforced. According to Hill, there’s not a large need to enforce this kind of action. More than 80% of Hearne HS's student body attends school in-person already. Many students are motivated to come to school in-person due to a desire to achieve career and technical education [CTE] certifications or to partake in extracurricular activities such as sports.
"[With] the communication we’re having with our parents, the good things that are taking place, I like to believe that our students enjoy being at school," Hill said.