ROCKFORD, Mich. (WOOD) — West Michigan school districts are working to address the learning loss many students experienced because of the pandemic.
Rockford Public Schools said while it still has some students working to catch up from the pandemic, teachers and parents are making progress on closing that gap.
“What we’ve seen is certainly, there was an impact from COVID,” said Superintendent Dr. Steve Matthews.
Matthews said some students struggled with learning from home.
“In that virtual learning environment it was more difficult for some of those students to really engage in meaningful ways. So what we’ve seen when those students come back to class, they really are taking to this idea of working together,” Matthews said.
Newly-released Michigan scores from the National Assessment of Educational Progress show declines in math and reading.
“While there are areas that are of concern, we certainly believe that we’re on the right track to recovering any learning loss that was there,” Matthews said.
Rockford said it is using new curriculum in these areas and educators are working together to help students who have fallen behind.
“The teachers will talk to each other about, ‘this is what I’m doing. This is the results I’m seeing. This is the impact it’s having.’ And if it’s making a positive impact, then other teachers will try those same strategies with the students in their classroom,” Matthews said.
Parents can get their child into additional tutoring sessions, monitor their grades online throughout the year and work with them one-on-one but the superintendent said the simplest advice can make the biggest difference.
“The first thing to do would be to talk to the teacher. The next thing to do would be pay attention as students come home to make sure they have a place to do their homework at night, to make sure that you as the parent kind of check with the student to make sure they’re completing their homework,” Matthews said.
The superintendent said his district has made up some ground in addressing learning loss.
“What we’ve seen is that we’ve been bounced back pretty well here in our district. Our MSTEP scores from last year were equivalent to pre-COVID MSTEP scores,” Matthews said.
The district acknowledged that more needs to be done.
“What we’ve learned during the pandemic is that we need to engage students in meaningful lessons. As we engage students in meaningful lessons with curriculum that makes a difference, that our students will be able to fill in those gaps,” Matthews said.