Minneapolis schools offer online credit recovery for high schoolers over winter break

22December 2021

Minneapolis high schoolers who have failed a course have a chance to catch up on their studies over winter break.

The district has offered credit recovery options over winter break for several years, but this is the second December that the program has gone virtual.

The program is focused on helping students — particularly juniors and seniors — earn missed credits in core subjects like math, science, English and social studies.

Nearly 800 students enrolled in the this year’s winter break academy, offered Dec. 20-22 and Dec. 27-28. That’s comparable to last year’s enrollment but higher than in pre-pandemic years, said Daren Johnson, the district’s director of extended learning. Attendance is also up, even compared to last year.

“Going virtual has been a great success,” Johnson said. “The accessibility is proven.”

The online format means students aren’t impacted by transportation limitations — they can enroll in any course that is offered.

“It’s a lot more flexible,” Johnson said. “And we are so much more experienced in technology now, so we can adapt to the needs of the students.”

If students don’t finish the course over winter break, they can continue working through it during an after-school credit recovery program in January.

“We want to keep them engaged in school so they can get courses made up and get back on track,” Johnson said.

That’s all the more important after periods of distance and hybrid learning, when many students fell behind, Johnson said.

Educators both locally and nationally are worried about the impact of what gaps the pandemic created in students’ learning. The 2021 Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA) tests showed a seven-point decline in reading scores and an 11-point loss in math compared with 2019.

The district also offers credit recovery options over spring break, which tends to bring in far more students hoping to catch up before graduation, Johnson said. The district has not decided whether this spring’s program will be in-person, virtual or hybrid.

This year, the credit recovery program includes support staff to help special education students and English Language Learners, Johnson said.

Johnson’s department also partnered with the district’s Indian Education staff to ensure American Indian families knew about the credit recovery options.

“We really focused on that student and family connection,” Johnson said.

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