Schools in Madison County prepare to tackle learning loss

Back to School 2021

MADISON COUNTY, Ala. – One of the biggest challenges facing educators this year is getting many students back on track after a year of learning amid COVID-19.

Recent surveys suggest that the learning loss that occurred during the last academic year was almost unprecedented.

News 19 spoke to educators who said the starts and stops during the past school, while necessary, were less than ideal for learning. Many students found virtual learning a challenge.

“Pre-assessment is going to be more important than ever, and what that means is early in the school year we are going to be doing a long hard look at the data,” said Craig Williams of Huntsville City Schools.

Educators are expected to carve out time in their day to meet and discuss each student’s progress and identify any new gaps in learning before deciding how to best address them. A process that for some students began over the summer.

“We say ‘ok, what do they need, where are their holes and from there we have tiered instructions so we will end up actually switching students.’ This teacher may be focusing on this hole that students have,” said Owens Cross Roads School teacher Leah Tabor.

The whole process is very deliberate, according to Tabor. Madison County Schools offered summer programs targeting math, reading, and some STEM subjects. Huntsville City Schools also beefed up their summer offerings.

“There’s no doubt, you look at the data, that many students, suffered some sort of learning loss, and that’s why we implemented summer programming, just like we always do, but we did put some additional offerings in place to ultimately help students eliminate that summer slide,” said Williams.

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