District Administration June 2020 - 7

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TEACHING AND LEARNING

How to combat the 'COVID slide'
when schools reopen

Starting the 2020-21 school year early and lengthening the calendar could offer more equity
Questions of equity will be even more
important to answer when schools
reopen as "COVID-19 slide" learning
loss will have impacted some students-
and districts-more than others.
Administrators will have to assess
students and use the data to develop
interventions, a group of education
experts said in a May webinar hosted by
NWEA, the nonprofit testing agency.
"We're going to see significant learning loss," said John King Jr., CEO of
The Education Trust and former U.S.
Secretary of Education.
District leaders can use in-person and
summer school to begin to help students
catch up. Also during the summer,
teachers will need time to plan differentiated instruction to address learning
loss once the school year begins.
Starting the 2020-21 school year
early and lengthening the calendar into
next summer may be the best way to
provide equity for students and narrow
achievement gaps that have widened
during coronavirus closures, Harris
Cooper, a professor of psychology and
neuroscience, said during a Duke University webinar in May.
All students slide in math during the
summer. But when it comes to reading,
middle-class students generally maintain
their skills while their lower-income

LOOK OF
LEARNING-
Classroom
environments will
change significantly
if schools reopen
in fall 2020 with
students and
teachers required to
wear face masks.

classmates tend to fall behind, said Cooper, who researches homework and afterschool programs. "The impact of the
long summer break and the longer pandemic break is going to make even more
dramatic the impact of achievement
gaps based on ethnicity and income."
What will the school day look like?
When schools reopen, the Cleveland
Metropolitan School District may split
classes in half and have groups of students attend on "A Days" or "B Days."
This would allow for social distancing of
students at their desks, CEO Eric Gordon said.
The district may also offer evening
sessions to learners who need to catch

More practical matters
Lori Villanueva, superintendent of Coalinga-Huron USD in California, says
administrators must answer the following questions before schools reopen:
* How will students and teachers
* How can desks be arranged to
maintain social distancing?
wearing masks affect learning?
* Will sufficient cleaning supplies be
* How will social distancing be mainavailable to schools?
tained on school buses?
* How will schools test students for
* Will students be allowed to play
COVID?
team sports, and if so, which ones?

DistrictAdministration.com

up, as well as institute staggered start
times that would require keeping
buildings open up to 12 hours a day.
Older students would likely continue
with more online sessions, but be able
to come into schools for tutorials and
teacher assistance. "I think it's going to
be a menu," Gordon said. "It's going to
be several options that meet the needs of
our community."
Leaders at St. Lucie Public Schools
in Florida are hoping for as much face
to face learning as possible, but they are
preparing for social distancing and other
public health measures.
Administrators are planning for a
12-to-1 ratio of teachers to students
when the school year begins, Chief Academic Officer Helen Wild says.
"With our desire to keep class sizes
small, we don't expect to be able to do
full face-to-face," Wild says.
St. Lucie's teachers are receiving
ongoing professional development in
online instruction and some have begun
developing their own programs.
"If we have a situation where we're in
and out of school, or a particular student
is in and out of school, our teachers can
transition to virtual much more seamlessly," Wild says. -Matt Zalaznick
June 2020 | 7


http://www.DistrictAdministration.com

District Administration June 2020

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