400 seniors in danger of failing classes, not graduating on time


Lilly Gorman

Coppell High School Principal Laura Springer revealed on Thursday that around 400 seniors were failing classes and in danger of not graduating on time. Administrators and teachers are encouraging students to come to school in person or join classes synchronously and are asking parents to help check students’ grades. Photo by Lilly Gorman.

Avani Kashyap, Daily News/Assignment Editor

Last Thursday afternoon, Coppell High School Principal Laura Springer sent parents and students of the senior class a concerned video message: more than 400 students are at risk of not graduating in May.

Springer’s announcement came after administrators and counselors reviewed progress reports for the fourth nine weeks and found more than 400 students in danger of failing classes required for graduation. Springer urged students to stay on top of their work, come to school in person if possible and join their Zoom classes on time.

“All year, we’ve been tracking the same number of kids who have not consistently done what they’re supposed to do since the beginning of the year,” associate principal Melissa Arnold said. “That number, by the time we get to graduation, is usually zero, because we’ve pestered ourselves and gotten people across the finish line. This year, we ran the fourth nine weeks report card and people we’d never been tracking before had 10s and zeroes. They’re just not doing anything.”

With the majority of CHS engaging in virtual learning, students are not required to attend Zoom meetings, but simply engage in Schoology for attendance purposes. With virtual classes, teachers are finding it more difficult to reach out to students and ensure they are completing their assignments on time.

“It has been markedly worse this year than it has been in past years,” AP English IV teacher Mathew Bowden said. “Kids who are virtual have more leeway, they have more freedom, and they are failing to fulfill their academic obligations.”

While college decisions may have already been made, students are still required to submit their final transcripts to the institution they are attending. If students are failing classes, it is possible that colleges or scholarships could rescind their acceptances.

“The isolation and everything that has come with COVID-19 has caused emotional distress, and I don’t doubt that there have been very real cases of depression and anxiety that have been exacerbated by this situation,” Bowden said. “I felt that myself. But the times that we’ve been living in have become a bit of a crutch for a lot of kids and I’ve gotten the feeling that many kids have expected a failsafe, and there isn’t one.”

Senioritis is nothing new. During the second semester, when most seniors have committed to their post graduation plans and grades do not impact rank, administrators generally see a veritable decrease in academic performance.

Last year, when the COVID-19 first hit, the fourth nine weeks transitioned into a pass-fail grading system. Despite remaining in a virtual environment, grading this year is much more resemblant of a typical school year.

“Every year, we struggle the last nine weeks because seniors are just done,” Arnold said. “You’ve already decided what college you’re going to go to, you already have all the scholarships filled out and accepted, so it’s always a struggle. But we never have so many people who are in such danger. Our fear is that seniors have checked out and are going to get a very low grade thinking that their teachers will give them grace like they got last year, but in reality, we’re past that. You need to do your work.”

Students who are failing classes are expected to come to school in person, and if unable to, are strongly encouraged to join classes virtually. Arnold and Springer are advocating for parents to check students’ Home Access Centers (HAC) to follow up on the status of their grades.

“This is not a normal year,” Arnold said. “I have seen straight A students fail multiple classes this year. Senioritis just needs to pause for a second, because it’s too early for that to happen.”