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While most Fresno Unified students and staff are enjoying a break from studies and work over the holidays, more than 1,500 high schoolers are skipping the break so they can bring up their grades.

For the first time, the district is holding a Winter Credit Recovery Session over the holiday break. The session is intended to allow students who have a failing grade in a course required for graduation to do extra work and catch up.

The session, which started Monday and continues through Jan. 7 with only short two-day breaks for Christmas and New Year’s, enrolled 1,546 students, district spokeswoman Amy Idsdvoog said Wednesday. About 1,800 high schoolers were invited to participate, she said.

Idsvoog said 624 seniors, 418 juniors, 238 sophomores, and 266 freshmen enrolled in the winter session.

Fresno Unified has about 20,300 high school students among its 73,381 enrollees, according to the California Department of Education.

Looked for Alternatives for Students

Jeremy Ward, executive officer of the district’s office of college and career readiness, told GV Wire ℠ earlier this month that distance learning prompted by the COVID-19 has increased challenges for students, so educators looked at different approaches to help students close their learning gaps.

Winter session students are using the Edgenuity online curriculum that allows them to learn at their own pace while teachers tailor individualize instruction for them.

The district has long offered a summer credit recovery session but added the winter session to help students stay on track to graduate.

Passing grades also are important for students who want to remain eligible for elective courses such as performing arts and career technology, Ward said.

The district is paying for the winter session with funds previously designated for Saturday Academy, an attendance-recovery program that’s on hiatus during the school closures mandated by the pandemic.

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