Educators face unprecedented challenges ahead. While schools and families have gone to extraordinary lengths to support their students during the COVID-19 crisis, there has been a variance of offerings across the country. The recent research report from the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA), “The COVID-19 slide: What summer learning loss can tell us about the potential impact of school closures on student academic achievement,” highlights that students may lose between half to a full year of achievement growth.
While there are needs in every grade level, elementary school students are especially vulnerable to learning loss in critical literacy skills. Students in grades K–2 who need explicit systematic instruction are likely missing out on mastering foundational skills, while interventions for older readers (grades 3–5) are not intense enough to meet student needs exacerbated by school closures. In addition, many students do not have access at home to the volume of reading or writing materials they need to be proficient readers and writers. Finally, as we talk to educators, we hear about the significant trauma that they, along with their students, are experiencing during this unprecedented time.
We at Pivot Learning, CORE, and Center for the Collaborative Classroom have taken this time to examine our own practices with a critical eye, looking for ways to better equip educators with the tools and support they need to connect with a diverse student population that has been adversely affected by school closures. When we look ahead, we understand school will likely look different in ways we cannot even imagine.
To support our educator partners, we offer guidance and resources that can be used over the summer and taken into the fall to support students both academically and socially.