What post-pandemic plans should be brought to the table in order for students to adjust in the upcoming 2021-2022 school year?

May 12, 2021

Learning loss of the past was usually rectified within the first weeks of school after summer break. The 2021-2022 school year could work similarly; except educators may need to jog the memory of about a year and a half’s worth of subject matter with students. As September approaches, school districts, families and educators have been pitching strategies to keep students up to date with their education as well as adjust back to a level of ‘normalcy’. Mckinsey & Co. discuss and theorize about some of the most popular strategies being considered by school’s across the country, some examples include:

  • Expanded Time: students are offered summer, weekend and after school learning programs and courses in order to retake or to catch up with subjects they have missed and forgotten.
  • Tutoring: intensive tutoring programs are started and available for students who need it, possibly using an approach in which college students may gain credits by volunteering to be tutors for k-12 students.
  • Acceleration:  Instead of teachers ‘meeting students where they are,’ they continue to push forward with proper grade level content at the same time as reteaching the old in order to not foster lower expectations and underachievement among students, as well as keep them on a proper ‘building block’ path.
  • Keep faith: Some schools are deciding to do less remediation at the beginning of the school year and continue as normally as possible, trusting that students properly retained information from virtual and hybrid learning and offering students assistance or extra help if issues arise with specific lessons.

 

Mrs. Sherman

 

Mya Collins, freshman, virtual 

“I feel like regrouping in the fall when we are all expected to be in-person will be beneficial, especially for classes that are cumulative in the sense that you’re moving up a chain into higher courses. Spending time reviewing what we learned this year will do wonders”

 

Janjabill Tahsin, sophomore, virtual 

“While I do feel like these [the ideas discussed above] are all possible solutions could be included, I feel like especially with the workloads of a normal year, it’s too much to put on a student. Asking them to retake these classes or attend these extended tutoring sessions really won’t be very beneficial to the students, especially their health when, in general, I don’t think it’ll get us anywhere mentally…Something that could be beneficial would be to take time at the beginning of the year to go over all of this stuff instead of asking students to take time out of their schedules when they’re already busy enough with clubs and classes.”

 

Seth Tavormina, junior, virtual 

“Improving what we have now [hybrid curriculums)] would be the most viable option. It wouldn’t be as much of a major change for the students – it’s far more plausible to just move from where we are now – at least until schools are allowed to be fully open.”

 

Kiyoshi Brown-Braun, senior, in person

“From what I’ve heard from teachers, it seems like they just want to move on. Sometimes I really do think that they want to act like nothing happened – which is unfair to us. Especially the students that struggled hard this year. Next year those students are going to have to figure out how to deal with normal school and it doesn’t seem like there’s many ideas at RV yet. It’d be fairest to help them out first just getting used to it again.”

 

Joseph Wilson, senior, virtual 

“I would like to be able to retake a class, especially classes that I didn’t do well in or cheated in. I would like to retake them just because I missed a lot of stuff, I was half asleep, I didn’t do half of the homework, and I’m not gonna be able to get it again. So I think being able to retake those classes for free, maybe even over the summer, just have open availability for some of the classes.”

 

Mrs. Rennie, Health and Physical Education teacher  

“I do think learning is going on, I do think it’s on a modified scale, so I do worry for courses that build on each other, like reading and math. I do think that next year continuing courses are going to have to backtrack a little to get caught up. Expectations will need to be drawn back…I’m assuming we’ll be back at least a half day. We’ll need to slow things down and backtrack a little, cover material from last year – we always do a little bit of that, but we’ll need more safeguards in place, especially with student preps that were offering things like GOT math that will help, we need more things like that, and especially more things in place for mental help, just even things like walking during student prep, things in place so we can really help kids. There’s a big pull for mental and emotional health that’s going to affect education for years to come, and I think as teachers we will need education on how to take care of and incorporate that as well.”

There’s a big pull for mental and emotional health that’s going to affect education for years to come, and I think as teachers we will need education on how to take care of and incorporate that as well.”

— Mrs. Rennie

“There should be some things in place this summer for students, we’re providing bussing that we normally wouldn’t do. With kids who struggled virtually, they shouldn’t have to continue virtually in summer. They should be given the opportunity to come in face to face – of course as long as they are comfortable with the virus – that would be the best solution.”

 

Mrs. Clymer-Smith, Biology teacher 

“I think your best post pandemic plan is to really make sure every course is going to be starting, especially if it’s a skill building course like math a reading, I think you’re going to have to put in some remediations, whether that comes in through some initial testing…I think that that is one of the biggest things we can do for student who have experienced a lot of learning loss…If you’ve got kids who did their credit recovery, maybe we can do some sort of free test the first couple days of school, so the kids can be identified as those who may need to be placed in some sort of what we used to call ‘got math,’ in reading, science, etc. That is going to need to be something that RV needs to take advantage of during the new ‘intervention and enrichment’ periods during the day.”

 

Ms. Perkins, Health, Driver’s Ed and Physical Education teacher

“I know there’s the question of credit completion. That’s especially an issue for us health classes, cause we’ve had so many kids fail…Do we just want to push them through? Because our issue is that so many kids are going to need to retake these classes next year that we’re going to be overloaded with kids… and not necessarily now, but I think last quarter I had a lot less (failing) kids in my classes than in the first two quarters. So I think they’re adjusting to this norm almost, which is gonna stink, because we’ll have to switch back to some other type of normalcy, hopefully be back in September”

 

Mr. Pliskin, Theater/Fine Arts teacher

“Do I think a specific plan works? I guess there should be someone who assesses how bad the damage is. I hate standardized tests, but I also hate inequity in the school districts more. Why should Haddonfield not have to struggle and Camden does? Maybe there should be a position where they go around to each school and assess the damage, with the least amount of standardized testing and using up the least amount of time that could be used in the classroom. Otherwise, it’s just snowballing the problem…The problem with that kind of fix in education is that, some guy comes down from the state, he starts coming into the schools and messing up the flow of everything. The schools are already trying to clean up messes, but he’s going around with paperwork saying ‘have the kids do this test so I can find out if their dumb or not.’ but while they’re taking that, they could have been reading Of Mice and Men.”

“In a beautiful world, I think we should all step back and take a look at each district, and each district should have a different individualized, equitable plan. In the education world, an action plan sounds like exactly what it is. It’s about measuring data, creating a plan, putting it to action, then reflecting on it. These big collegiate, massive ideas are sometimes too big, and there’s these simple answers that make you think ‘why aren’t people just doing that?’ but people are afraid to make a move.”

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