Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Local News

June 9, 2014

Altamont concerned with students failing core classes

ALTAMONT — ALTAMONT — Seniors failing core classes this past school year has Altamont administrators concerned about students graduating next school year.

Altamont school board addressed Monday changes that could be made to decrease the number of students failing core classes. High School Principal Jerry Tkachuck mentioned prior to graduation administrators had some concerns over students potentially failing to meet the requirements. Although all 67 seniors passed, he said steps need to be taken to analyze why students are failing classes and what teachers need to be doing to address those numbers.

"We still have too many students failing required classes and that's going to have to stop," he said. "Period."

Both Tkachuck and Superintendent Jeff Fritchtnitch said the responsibility for failing these classes falls both on students and teachers. While Fritchtnitch said some discussion about teachers of the required classes would have to take place in closed session, he said changes would have to be done to examine the grading standards, among other issues.

"We have teachers teaching and for whatever reason, we have students that aren't learning," Fritchtnitch said. "Whatever that problem is, we have to identify and fix it."

Fritchtnitch said while some of the issues may come down to unproductive relationships between the teachers and students, one of the priorities will be focusing assessment standards throughout the high school. He added the district is planning to bring in third-party advisers to help teachers rewrite more critical tests for students.

"We have some teachers write really good assessments and we have some teachers who, honestly, have admitted that they don't really know how to write an assessment," Fritchtnitch said.

If the district does hire advisers, work would take place before, during and at the end of the 2014-2015 school year, which Fritchtnitch said would help the students prepare for the more intensive examinations during the 2015-2016 school year. Tkachuck said improving the assessments would be work-intensive but would benefit students.

"We're going to be working a lot," he said. "It's time for us to start working on quality assessments, and that'll be happening this fall."

Jackson Adams can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 131, at jackson.adams@effinghamdailynews.com or via Twitter @EDNJAdams.

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