As the achievement gap
continues to widen, the
task ahead may seem insurmountable, particularly
for those who were already experiencing performance struggles prior to COVID-19.
What the pandemic has made abundantly clear is that our
traditional approaches to teaching and learning need to be reimagined. This is the time for innovation
and purpose as we redouble our efforts and create the village that will secure
our children’s futures.
Our children are resilient but they are in need of significant support to get back on track. We cannot ignore the mental health toll of this pandemic. It has disrupted
their world and sense of security. The necessary intervention is not just the job of individual teachers and school districts but that of entire stakeholder communities. More than ever, schools need to be the hub of larger educational networks that include parents, emotional and social support professionals, peers, caregivers, and siblings.
For recovery efforts to be effective a holistic, complementary and synergistic approach is necessary and should include:
1. Assessing the ways in which K-12 levels have been affected by the altered
learning environment of the past 12 months so that each impact can be addressed from the academic, to social, to psychological.
2. Working on personalized approaches to rebuild their skills, self-esteem and proficiency.
3. Increasing the learning network to include caregivers and parents in a more structured manner whenever possible.
While the focus thus far has been on the loss in academic gains over the past year, we also need to acknowledge that there is evidence of a small but significant group of children who have thrived in this new environment. This is an opportunity to dissect the elements that have made it possible for some to advance in circumstances that are, at least on the surface, counter to success. It also drives home the message that perhaps a balance between flexibility and purposeful, multi-tiered instruction is what our children need at this time of turmoil and much-needed recovery.
The best of intentions are empty without appropriate action. Therefore, resources need to be made available and allocated appropriately. These resources are not only financial in nature. Leveraging human capital also needs to be part of the equation: How do we better equip our teachers to meet all the new responsibilities that have been thrust upon them? What is the best approach for getting parents and entire families involved? When and how do we assess what is working and what is not so that we can regroup and relaunch efforts? These questions and more will need to be part of the collective discussion as plans are made for the future of K-12 academic instruction.
Let’s all work together to get our children back on track!
Proposed Model for Recovering Lost Academic Gains:
Upcoming K-12 Educator Training Sessions hosted by ATCG, LLC: