How school districts are combatting pandemic learning loss in 2022

Posted at 7:42 PM, Sep 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-13 11:52:15-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The COVID-19 pandemic has had a lasting effect on youth academically, socially and emotionally. Students' math and reading scores fell during the pandemic.

"This is a generational impact if we don't start right now. These students will be in college one day, hopefully they'll be in the workforce. If we don't clean up these deficits right now, their lives can take a different direction," Dr. Sean Croft, the superintendent of Starpoint Central School District, said.

Dr. Croft said after about a year and a half of remote or hybrid learning, students fell back.

"There were significant skill deficits in basic reading and math skills, especially in K-12," Dr. Croft said.

"The regression isn't just academic. It is social. It is emotional. It is with rituals and routines. This year has started much better however," Mark Laurrie, the superintendent of Niagara Falls City Schools, said.

But after a school year filled with hard work, schools are much closer to closing that gap.

"I think right now we're close to pre-pandemic to be honest with you," Stan Wojton, the principal at Cataract Elementary said.

The focus on improving academics has taken an individual approach, and giving extra attention to students in need of help.

"We need to look at every child individually, find out where they are currently, and develop an individual plan for them," Laurrie said.

"So what that looks like is us adding interventionists, like extra reading and math teachers," Dr. Croft said.

Both superintendents and principals say there are also things parents can do at home, but most important is having open communication with your child's teacher.

"Keeping in communication with the teacher and the school, anything that might be going on. It's really important to have that," Denielle Toth, the principle at Starpoint K-2, said.

They said find out how your child is doing in the classroom, and then practice at home.

"The importance is is just having them read, ask them some questions to find out if they're comprehending the reading. It's just that extra time spent on a task. Doing math, there's a lot of extra math. It's like extra math homework at home, everybody loves that. There's a ton of online or apps that just reinforce basic math skills," Dr. Croft said.

"They're more resilient than we thought to be completely honest with you," Wojton said.