Data shows Fayette County Public School students perform better in the classroom

Posted at 5:44 PM, Apr 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-22 19:10:58-04

DURING THE FIRST QUARTER, the number of 6th graders who got at least one 'F' dropped by 16% from 26.6% to now 10.6%. — After a rough pandemic year of virtual learning, significantly fewer students are earning failing grades in Fayette County Public Schools.

During the 2019-2020 school year, the district, like many across the nation, saw failing grades double and triple.

"We saw the upticks in F's. You can't just ignore that and say 'Well, it's a pandemic. We got a lot of kids that are failing. Oh well.' We had to respond to it," said Chief of Middle Schools Tracy Bruno.

This 2021-2022 school year, the number of students with at least one 'F' dropped significantly in the middle schools.

During the first quarter, the number of 6th graders who got at least one 'F' dropped by 16% from 26.6% to now 10.6%.

The number of 7th and 8th graders who received one 'F' dropped as well.

VIRTUAL 7th grade: 28.2%

IN PERSON 7th grade: 12.1%


VIRTUAL 8th grade: 27.5%

IN PERSON 8th grade: 14.7%


"I think that what we've seen is the importance of being back in school," said Bruno.

So far this year, the number of high school students who failed didn't drop as much as the middle school, but there was still progress.

The first semester of this 2021-2022 school year, the number of 9th graders who got at least one 'F' dropped by 7%. Grades 10-12 experienced a similar trend.

VIRTUAL 10th grade: 24.6%

IN PERSON 10th grade: 19.4%


VIRTUAL 11th grade: 21.1%

IN PERSON 11th grade: 15.3%


VIRTUAL 12th grade: 19.1%

IN PERSON 12th grade: 12.7%


"It's been a lot of hard work, getting where we are now," said Chief of High Schools James McMillin. "I mean, and I know at some point, you hear people talking about being exhausted, and there is a sense of that. But when we see data like this and we see some of the successes that we've had with many of our students and on our staff, as they've grown professionally, our administrators, you know, that sort of rejuvenates all of us."

Of the failing grades, Black and Hispanic students were higher represented in the failing numbers.

"The disproportionality and failures, attendance, behavior, those are all things that systematically not only in Fayette County, but you know, across the United States. We're digging into and again, it's about being intentional. It's about, I mean, in many cases, it's about coming to our teachers and going what can we do to enhance the educational experience," said McMillin.

McMillin and Bruno say the results are more than just the effect of returning in person. They feel the change is because of a combination of starting the Summer Ignite Program, creativity, innovation, and changing the way they grade.

"I think the more we can do that and move outside of the, you know, sort of the 1950, 1960-70s box of education where kids sit in rows, and the only place they can learn from is if a teacher is standing in front of them on the board and you know, and they're writing notes the whole time. We're past that now. Our society is past that and our business is past that now. And so, we've got to continue to push to prepare our students for a different world that that will eventually be here after COVID, you know, sort of drifts back to the background," said McMillin.

Since returning, teachers have endured everything from quarantines, to shortages, to protests, rallies for higher pay, and even the loss of coworkers and family to COVID-19. However, Bruno and McMillin say through it all they have been the school's rock.

"These numbers are not possible without their hard work because they could very well just throw their hands up and said, 'This is a worldwide pandemic. There's nothing we can do about this. We're just going to have to ride it out.' But our teachers stepped up and said, 'How can we better serve our students' and really put the work in and it made sure that our kids got what they needed," said Bruno.