ROME, N.Y. -- There’s typically a lull in student performance this time of the year, but Rome Free Academy is dealing with a bigger challenge. RFA Principal Brian LeBaron says student’s attendance rates are down, and since they’re not physically in school, it’s difficult to keep them engaged.
"It’s just a click of a button to exit out, and unfortunately, I’ve tried to ask our staff to put yourself in student’s shoes and where you were when you were a teenager, and the same conditions and climate, and if something was difficult, or it was the courses that you don’t normally do well in or struggle with when you need extra help -- how easy it is to just exit out," he said.
LeBaron sent out a letter to parents asking for any concerns, requests, or feedback that would help make learning more attractive.
"Educators are all looking for things that will work, and feeling frustrated they can’t find the avenue that opens up and unlocks that key for that student to be that virtual learner that we hope all of our kids and students would be at some point," he said.
The school staff is discussing limiting the amount of work students are receiving so they don’t feel so easily overwhelmed, and will try to connect more personally with the kids. They’d also like to have better communication with parents through phone and email so students have better access to assignments.
"To find a way to do that right now is the trickiest part," he said. "So we got to be supportive, and we want to take ownership that we can do it different, and work with our families and be as a team."