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Texas parents now have a choice when it comes to their children repeating a grade level

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Posted at 10:50 PM, Jul 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-22 23:50:13-04

Senate Bill 1697 was passed in Texas allowing parents who feel their child may have fallen behind academically, for reasons such as the pandemic, to hold their student back a grade level.

This option is especially important to consider for the parents of the nearly 25,000 children in Texas who were eligible for kindergarten in School Year 2020-21, but who did not enroll, as well as for those kindergartners who had a significantly disrupted school year.

"I think it's a great idea parents should have that choice in deciding our child's education because we know our child the best," said Natalie McClure, the parent of a soon-to-be 2nd grader.

For McClure, she decided to have her daughter repeat kindergarten in 2018 after speaking with Waco ISD school officials.

Then because of the pandemic in 2020, her daughter had a much smaller class size in first grade which worked in her favor.

"She is thriving, I'm super excited she actually got the science award this past year so I'm pretty excited about that," said McClure.

McClure also said often times students are pushed off to the next grade unprepared causing them to fall through the cracks.

"That's the problem that we have in today's society 'holding them back' is such a negative term, versus looking at it as this is beneficial for my child in the long run," said McClure.

Meanwhile staff at Midway ISD looking over their testing results to gauge what the next school year will look like.

"The curriculum teams are meeting throughout the summer and theyll continue, as soon as these results come out, teachers just pour over their results, coordinators pour over the results, principals everybody is just digging into them to see what we can learn and making changes as soon as we can," said Dr. Lorri Sapp, the Director, Secondary Curriculum & Instruction for Midway ISD.

Aside from holding students back, the district has over 250 students enrolled in an accelerated instruction camp for them to catch up.

And for any student who did not pass their testing will have to have a minimum of 30 hours of tutoring in a 1-to-3 small group setting.

"So there's a lot of this happening but we are in plans this summer. And we are making plans where this is doable, so we're working at all the campuses what will this look like, who can tutor. How will we attract the best teacher and that sort of thing," said Sapp.

If you're considering having your student repeat a grade, you better act fast ... as the first day of school is a month away, and teachers will need to make accommodations.

If parents decide that it is best for their child to repeat a grade or course, they must inform their school in writing before the start of the upcoming school year. Because schools are making plans now, parents interested in this option should contact their school as soon as possible.

The final decision as to whether a student needs to repeat a course or grade in the upcoming school year is now a Texas parent’s to make, though schools can provide input to further inform a parent’s decision.

For students in grade four and above this option exists only for the 2021-22 school year, but for Pre-K through grade 3 the option is permanent.