Freshmen GPA raises concerns

Halfway through the first quarter of the 2019-2020 school year, members of Hillsborough High School’s latest class of freshmen experienced a slump in academic performance. 134 freshmen out of a population of 550 currently sit below a 2.0 in course performance, as reported by Principal Gary Brady. For administration, this number has warranted efforts to motivate students to focus on their academics.

The district average for students above a 2.0 GPA currently sits at 84.09 percent. As of now, Hillsborough falls almost 10 percent short of this in current course performance. This percentage is of great concern to teachers and students alike. A student maintaining a 2.0 or higher after their first year of high school grants them a 90 percent chance of graduation. However, their chances are nearly cut in half if they fall short their first year. This statistic poses a risk towards the 134 freshmen that are under a 2.0 halfway through the first nine weeks.

Addressing this issue will not be simple. According to Assistant Principal for Curriculum Phillip Morris, there is no definite cause of bad grades, as it is impossible to assign blame to any specific attitude or problem. “There are various factors that contribute to it, but we always say the ABCs: your attendance, your behavior and your course performance,” Morris said.

Morris is hopeful that these problems were addressed at conference night, where teachers met with students and parents to communicate the role of their current actions on their futures. However, there were certain limitations to conference night’s impact, one being availability of parents. “We usually have a pretty good turnout, but there’s always going to be a case where that kid that teachers know if the parent had an opportunity to come to conference night, maybe they could explain to the parent what the child needs to do to be successful in their class,” Morris said.

One of the issues that adds to the number of off-track students is the lack of comprehension freshmen have of how their current grades will affect their academic career. “They could improve a good amount,” freshman Maheer Patel said. “I don’t feel like they are directly involved in most of the students’ lives, especially the ones that truly need guidance.”