The majority of William Penn Senior High School freshmen are on school plans designed to help them improve their grades.
George Fitch, the school's ninth-grade principal, talked about the freshman academic issues during the Community Education Council meeting Wednesday.
The council is a volunteer group charged with overseeing the district's state-mandated financial recovery plan.
Fitch, also an assistant principal at William Penn, said the school has 165 freshmen, and about 120 of them have academic plans because they have gotten Ds and Fs in their courses.
The students' teachers create the academic plans. Some of the students have more than one plan, he said.
"We do have a lot of students who aren't making the mark," Fitch said. "We see teachers meeting challenges. We have to hold students accountable."
The school offers tutoring Monday through Saturday and a "Saturday school," he said. Only 15 students come to the Saturday classes, while eight students attend tutoring sessions, Fitch said.
"That's a pitiful attendance," said Michael Johnson, a member of the Community Education Council.
Fitch said he believes things will improve when the students realize academic standards will not be lowered for them.
Johnson said while the school is working on making improvements, he is still concerned with the number of freshmen who are having academic problems.
"It's not great that we have 120 plans," Johnson said. "But it is great that we're doing something about it."
Fitch said he talks to students repeatedly about taking advantage of opportunities to improve their grades.
He said the William Penn staff also is working hard to convince parents to get more involved in the district's efforts to improve students' education experiences.
The school has about 750 students, and staff members have called about 80 percent of their parents, he said.
However, only a handful of the parents have come to meetings to discuss how to make improvements, Fitch said.
He said some parents' job schedules prohibit them from attending.
-- Reach Eyana Adah McMillan at email@example.com.