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As more states reopen their school systems to the possibility of live, interactive classrooms, with or without masks and social distancing, educators are beginning to find out precisely what has been lost in their students’ learning progress from the pandemic’s interruption. Each summer, the annual break results in some backslide of student retention of the lessons learned during the previous year. This has come to be known as the “Summer Slide”. Now, students face an even more significant learning gap in the quarantine period most of us have gone through and the estimation of curricular losses during the time that students have been barred from the classroom. This is considered the “Covid Slide”.
While online learning has helped mitigate this loss, it could only do so much. And online activities do not reach all students, as some may not have regular access to a computer with broadband internet access. There is no small concern about where the nation’s children now find themselves along their educational journey. The worst fears are that there is now up to three years worth of gap in the education regimen in this country. In some jurisdictions, including Florida, parents can even request that their children repeat a grade to make sure they receive the full content of their studies.
According to the ACT college-entry tests, high school students seem to have lost an average of several months of equivalent instruction time from this experience, regardless of the attempts to keep the learning going forward via virtual classes. The estimates of lost learning, which span all ethnicities and living situations (rural, suburban, urban) include:
The greatest loss may be to the spirit and enthusiasm of the students themselves who have, like the rest of us, been through an emotionally difficult, socially isolating experience. Students reporting to the classroom in the coming months may be somewhat shell-shocked and disoriented, to begin with, especially if they’re expected to buckle down to serious studies for the first time in years. For the youngest among them, the gap may represent a large percentage of their lives so far.
The Learning Lab has developed a number of helpful programs to lend remedial aid to the big slide that three years of pandemic have incurred in our school children. But these programs can go even further. For example, if your student is struggling during the average school year from inherent learning differences that make daily study a challenge, we can address that as well.
The Summer Programs at the Learning Lab help students continue to make learning gains, regardless of the “downtime” that has been forced upon them.
The FLEX program can help them maintain the momentum they had built up before the pandemic and therefore enter the next school year ― in whatever form it may take ― with a higher level of self-confidence and preparedness. As a highly individualized program, the FLEX plan can deliver a light course to play educational catch-up, or it can provide more intensive content, depending on the needs of each child. The program focuses on basic skills that might have suffered over the extended break, such as math, reading comprehension, reading fluency and writing.
The SMART program, however, can offer an even greater intervention. Some kids can have difficulty in the best of circumstances, and the gap that occurs in the summer or under emergency conditions only makes matters worse. These students need extra help. The SMART track provides a six-week intensive literacy program.
The SMART program can offer highly focused help to students who may be facing these learning differences, whether formally diagnosed or not:
At the Learning Lab, our Smart and Flex programs are designed around the SMART and FITT Principles.
Don’t leave your students alone in their struggles to regain their learning momentum. Talk to us at The Learning Lab today and prepare for your child’s triumphant return to the educational landscape.