Local teacher gives advice to parents considering having child repeat the school year


HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – The clock is ticking for Pennsylvania parents to decide if they want their kids to repeat a year.

The new Pennsylvania law is meant to help make up for pandemic learning challenges. It gives parents the power to decide if they want their student to repeat a grade for the 2021-2022 school year.

However, they have to decide by July 15th and send in a form to their district by that deadline.

Local teacher Michael Williams says this is a big decision for parents to make. He thinks they should understand a lot of students may have struggled more in the past year, but teachers and schools are adjusting their cirriculum to help make up for it.

“I would say to parents to be patient with the school as we kind of build back everything that we lost,” Williams said.

He advises that anyone considering it first check with their child’s teacher or principal to talk about it.

“It really should be a team discussion,” Williams said.

Williams also suggest that parents consider whether their child may just need to be back in the classroom in person to make up for any learning losses.

“Is it a skill academic deficiency or was it something that was not working well with the mode of learning that they were choosing?” Williams said.

If the child’s teacher hasn’t specifically recommended repeating a grade, he warns it probably isn’t the right choice.

“Retention has been shown and proven to actually adversely affect student growth and especially their mental health,” Williams said.

He believes academics shouldn’t be the only factor.

“Having them repeat a grade will take them out of that friendship base that they have and that might be the only thing that’s the constant that the kids have. When we look at retention we just don’t always look at the academic performance, we look at their social and emotional wellbeing,” Williams said.

He says there’s a reason for parents to be hopeful that their student can bounce back from a tough year.

“We’re anticipating a much smoother more consistent school year next year,” Williams said.

If you want to learn more about the option or fill out the form to request it you can do that here.

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