By Mollye Kiss, Senior Consultant
When schools start to re-open and students return to the classroom, one thing is certain. Recoupment of regression during the “COVID-19 Slide” will be front and center in everyone’s mind. Students will display wider variations in academic performance than ever before. As such, it is critical to start planning now for how you will identify and manage students with learning losses and social-emotional needs.
Nationwide school closures are highlighting inequities within the education system, particularly for students with disabilities, English-language learners, and those who are economically disadvantaged, as well as inequities within a multi-cultural student population. Under normal conditions, students facing inequities are more likely than their peers to suffer from summer learning loss during the “Summer Slide.” However, with over 50 million students participating in distance learning during the “COVID-19 Slide” for what could potentially mount to six months, these students are in even greater danger of skill and academic regression. For example, the usual summer break alone can contribute to a loss of one month of education for children of low socioeconomic status. Additionally, summer break can be associated with a setback in mental health and emotional well-being for these students, which is further compounded by continued time away from their school and peer group.
Now more than ever during the COVID-19 emergency, it is essential for school districts to have a mechanism in place to identify academic, social-emotional, and behavioral needs, along with a set of robust interventions at varying intensity levels that are readily available to support students upon their return to the classroom. This strategic approach will help to identify students who have been impacted most significantly, so schools can take swift action to provide these students with the appropriate intervention(s) aligned with their identified academic, emotional, or behavioral needs.
Steps School Districts Can Take Now:
- Review and design K-12 master schedules that include a targeted intervention period
- Select universal screeners for the areas of literacy, math, behavior, and social-emotional learning (SEL); evaluate all students when school resumes.
- Take an inventory of the academic, behavioral, and SEL interventions your district has available for students to access. Where there are limited resources, procure accordingly.
- Evaluate your human capital resources. Do you have an adequate number of teachers who have been trained to provide interventions? Evaluate whether or not additional resources are needed.
- Determine progress monitoring methods. How will you track how students are responding to interventions?
- Reach out to community resources for help with facilitating mental health counseling, and work to secure interagency agreements.
- Consider alternative funding to offset some of the unexpected costs associated with the influx of interventions needed to address skill regression.
How PCG Can Help:
As the COVID-19 emergency continues to create significant challenges for school districts, Public Consulting Group, Inc. (PCG) has resources ready to support and enhance your efforts:
- EDPlan Identify – a web-based Early Warning System – critical for identifying students who are at risk of regression during the “COVID-19 Slide”
- EDPlan Intervene – a web-based intervention management system – allowing you to create, manage, and monitor academic, behavior, and SEL plans in one system
- Professional Development – Our subject matter experts can provide much-needed guidance and support on how to establish/enhance your multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS) framework.