Engagement and Attendance are Very Low during Virtual Learning

Mark Torres

Edward Reynolds West Side High School




During the COVID-19 pandemic millions of students have had to switch to virtual learning. Moreover, The Governor of New York State, Andrew Cuomo, has been meeting with Bill Gates, Co-founder of Microsoft, Inc. in order to increase the amount of virtual learning that happens in our public schools. Your ideas about this are very important because you are the one who will use virtual learning to pass your classes and gain credits for graduation. Furthermore, since we have switched to virtual learning the engagement and attendance rate has gone down. If students are not engaged in school, they will not get their credits and it will take them longer to graduate.



Please use the 6-step Public Policy Analyst (PPA) to create a Google Slides presentation addressing the following statement:

Engagement and Attendance are Very Low during Virtual Learning 

Also, please use pictures, as well as different formats and effects to create an exciting presentation:




Please use the 6 Public Policy Analyst (PPA) steps to create Google Slides addressing the statement above. Also, please use pictures, as well as different layouts and effects to create your Google Slides. Please create a Google Slides presentation with at least 8 slides. Your first slide should include the title: How    can we use virtual learning to increase student engagement and attendance? Also, include your full name, the date and your class. The next 6 slides should be focused on answering the PPA questions below. And the last slide should be a conclusion in which you evaluate this project and say whether it was useful or not, and tell us why you feel the way you do about it.


  1. Define the Problem
  2. Gather the Evidence
  3. Identify the Causes
  4. Evaluate an Existing Policy
  5. Develop Solutions
  6. Select the Best Solution  (Feasibility vs. Effectiveness)




1.     The problem is that since our switch to virtual learning many students have not been engaging or attending virtual classes. If they are not engaged then they will not get their credits and it will take them longer to graduate.

2.     The evidence can be seen in the NYC Department of Education’s Today’s Attendance website, where you can find the attendance rate for all the public schools in NYC. You can use this link for your evidence: NYC Department of Ed Attendance. You can also use this website to get additional information about public school attendance: Additional Attendance Information. We can also get engagement and attendance information from the attendance office at our school. I will facilitate a presentation by Ms. Lissette Navas who will give us more data about engagement and attendance at our school.

3.     There are many causes why students don’t engage in virtual learning. Here is a website that explores 6 of those reasons:  6 Reasons Students Aren't Showing Up for Virtual Learning. Another good website to check out is: 5 Reasons Students are not Engaging in Distance Learning.

4.     The existing policy says that students who do not engage in virtual learning can get an NX grade but that’s like getting an incomplete and students still need to make that work up. The policy is written on this NYC Department of Education website: Grading Policy Guidance. The NYC DOE policy on attendance is also here: DOE Attendance Policy.

5.     There are many policies that we can create to improve student engagement and help students accumulate their credits so they can graduate. Here are some ideas: 7 Ways to Increase Student Engagement Online. There is also good information here: 8 Strategies to Improve Participation in Your Virtual Classroom.  This is another place that can help us develop good policies: 9 Ways to Increase Online Student Engagement.  However, the policies can be developed based on what you like and don’t like about virtual learning. Please use your preferences so that we can develop policies that will help students engage more in virtual learning. The more they engage and attend virtual classes the sooner they can get  the credits they need to graduate.

6.     Out of all of the policies, strategies and tactics studied and thought about, what is the best policy to increase student online engagement and attendance?




Cycle Project Rubric: How to get a good grade.






Required Elements

-The google slides include all required elements as well as additional information.

-All required elements are included on the google slides.

-All but 1 of the required elements are included on the google slides.

-Several required elements were missing.

Graphics: Relevance

-All graphics are related to the topic and make it easier to understand. You can include pictures, maps, flags, graphs, charts, videos and memes.

-All graphics are related to the topic and most make it easier to understand.

-All graphics relate to the topic.

-Graphics do not relate to the topic.


-The google slides are exceptionally attractive in terms of design, layout, and neatness.

-The google slides are attractive in terms of design, layout, and neatness.

-The google slides are acceptably attractive though it may be a bit messy.

-The google slides are distractingly messy or very poorly designed. It is not attractive.


-There are no grammatical/mechanical mistakes on the google slides.

-There are 1-2 grammatical/mechanical mistakes on the google slides.

-There are 3-4 grammatical/mechanical mistakes on the google slides.

-There are more than 4 grammatical/mechanical mistakes on the google slides.


Student Questions: Please answer the following questions using School English, spelling and grammar count:

1.   What is a rubric used for?

2.   What does “Required Elements” mean?

3.   Please list at least 3 different types of graphics that you can use in your Google Slides presentation:

4.   What does “Attractiveness” mean?

5.   What is “School English?”

6.   Please use a complete sentence to write a question or comment here:




After reviewing and grading student work it was clear that I needed to spend more time showing students how to create a Google slide presentation in Google Classroom. Some students had created their presentations directly in Google Sheets and then shared it with me which did not allow for me to find, review and grade student work in Google Classroom. Also, I had to take time away from the research and writing parts of the project to individually show some students how to include pictures, themes and memes. Next time I will spend more time showing them how to get things done in Google Classroom using Google Slides.  Also, through this project I noticed how students are keenly aware of the problems associated with virtual classrooms.  Some of their responses to these problems commonly expressed students' harsh view of themselves but other responses were in tune with the broader problems of going from classroom learning to virtual learning with very little to no preparation. Some of the suggestions that students submitted as part of this project were used by the school and we are now putting more effort into doing a better job of increasing student engagement and attendance.




New York State Literacy 6-12 Anchor Standards for Reading

Key Ideas and Details

STANDARD 1: Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly/implicitly and make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.

STANDARD 2: Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.


Craft and Structure

STANDARD 4: Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.

STANDARD 5: Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole.


New York State Literacy 6-12 Anchor Standards for Writing

Text Types and Purposes

STANDARD 1: Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence. STANDARD 2: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.


Research to Build and Present Knowledge

STANDARD 5: Conduct short as well as more sustained research based on focused questions to demonstrate understanding of the subject under investigation. STANDARD 6: Gather relevant information from multiple sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism. Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.

STANDARD 7: Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.


School is boring and irrelevant, say teenagers