Challenges from getting along with others on the playground to holding a pencil are everyday occurrences that teachers are facing.
Keeping students engaged has been a constant struggle these past few years. School districts need to be creative when it comes to addressing the learning loss of their students.
Having a flexible schedule has allowed my district to meet our students’ needs better. Having “Help Fridays” is just one way the Middle School and High School encourage students to continue to do their best and turn in their assignments to earn incentive days. In the younger grades, students who need additional interventions stay until the end of the day. In contrast, others are dismissed an hour earlier each day. This way, students can receive a second dose of reading and math in a smaller group setting.
After School Tutoring
With additional funding, our students are encouraged to stay after school and participate in tutoring for reading and math. Some students are identified, while others are from parent requests. This program has a set schedule, and parents will be required to provide transportation.
Our district has been thriving in extending summer school length to prevent the loss of traditional summer learning. As a result, students receive extra help to prepare for the next grade and close learning gaps. In addition, we have implemented a four-day week to accommodate vacations and family time during the summer months.
In school, Intervention programs have been put in place to help students. In addition, all students have been screened or tested in reading and math to help identify Tier 2 students as part of the district-wide RTI model.
All teachers have been trained on reading and engagement strategies to help increase the learning of all students.
We have added coaches and paraprofessionals to help with academic support. With the addition of these staff, we can offer smaller class sizes and reduce the workload of all teachers. Additional staff in behavioral rooms has also reduced the teacher-student ratio in behavioral and special education classrooms.
Last year, our teachers piloted a new reading and math curriculum. These textbooks will enable us to meet the standards and identify deficiencies that students lack. However, with these programs, teachers must monitor student progress to determine if additional interventions are required. Additionally, at their parent’s request, students can check out devices and hotspots to continue learning at home.
There is no easy fix. However, with schedule changes and additional support in place, students will have the opportunities to recover from their learning loss.
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