Work Together to Succeed Together


Shalom Lara, writer

It’s the second quarter of the school year and classes are becoming more challenging. The percentage of failing students is increasing as the end of the first semester approaches. 


Vice Principal Sally Harrison said, “Our failing rate usually starts out somewhere at forty percent and then we get it down to ten or fifteen, so we’re constantly working on it all semester. Between ten and fifteen percent of our population is failing at least one class.”

Failing seniors need to go on an online academy to finish passing their classes if they are failing a core class.  Harrison’s job is to “put kids on an academic probation contract, call them up, talk to them about their grades and talk to them weekly to make an action plan. An action plan is where a student makes time to go to work with teachers… We give students notification every two weeks of what classes they’re failing.”


Harrison focuses on helping juniors and seniors, Vice Principal Brian Fitzgerald works with struggling freshmen, and Principal Robert Ambrose works with sophomores. 


70% of Independence students are passing all of their classes. Harrison said, “Let’s push ourselves as Patriots, let’s see if we can get to 80 and 90. The goal is to get people to be successful!”


Counselor, Sue Knapp said, “If a student is struggling, first they work with  the teacher. If the teacher is not available, we have other resources.” Students who are struggling with their classes have many helpful options, such as the Pacelab and tutors. Harrison said, “NHS students provide tutoring service for other students who are struggling. Some teachers have peer tutors in the classroom.” 


Knapp continues, “If they do actually fail a class, for math class there is an automatic retake. They will take a trailer class (a two hour class that will replace an elective class). If they fail the math class again, then they have to take summer school.” Summer school covers only core classes and is for credit recovery only. Core classes include English, science, math and history. Since Independence, Glendale High School, and Apollo High School are sister schools, summer school is held at one of those schools each year. Students have the option to take a summer school class online (except math).


If students fail a core class in summer school, they will have to retake it the following school year for the entire year or just the semester. Students who fail an elective will lose the credit and must choose another elective to recover the credit. If a student continues to fail classes all the way to their senior year, they will not be able to have a free period during their senior year. Lost credits must be made up! 


It’s not too late Patriots! Independence provides a strong foundation to make every student successful, so take the opportunity and aim to pass all your classes!