DC educators share plan to tackle learning loss

D.C. schools are developing a plan that will address the learning loss that happened over the pandemic, and it will be a plan that will meet kids where they are in their learning.

D.C. Public Schools is planning a multipronged approach to the differing degrees of learning loss that teachers will have to deal with when school starts, and schools Chancellor Lewis Ferebee said the focus should not only be on academic loss, but on social and emotional learning, as well.

“We intend on making sure that our students start at grade-level instruction because what we don’t want to do is set our students backward, but we want to continue to move forward,” Ferebee said.

There’s a desire when you lose time to go faster to get caught up, Ferebee said, and what schools are being asked to do is to go deeper.

“Go deeper with relationships. Go deeper with learning in some of our prioritized curriculum,” he added.

Schools are approaching that depth in different ways. At LaSalle-Backus Education Campus, students will be placed in learning groups throughout their day, Principal Shelly Gray said.

“We have been very intentional about providing specific support during the school day to our students that are language learners, as well as our students with disabilities. And so, we also are focusing on spending and utilizing our before-school, as well as our after-school, time to be able to provide some additional graded learning supports,” Gray said.

Her campus is also offering additional music and art classes; students will be educated in computer science as well.

“We are reopening our school next year to have a specific focus on computer science education in order to increase our access and knowledge for our Black and brown students around computer science and engineering,” she said.

She emphasized how important it is for parents and guardians to enroll kids in the upcoming school year, so that schools can plan to address their needs.

William Massey, principal of H.D. Woodson High School, echoed Gray’s sentiment.

They are leaning on data collected from their students’ last testing scores to create strategic learning groups and also partnering with academic support groups, such as Raising a Village and Access Youth.

“We’ve been meeting with them over the last few weeks trying to develop the most strategic plan for our school that works for our students, and tapping into what’s going to motivate them to make this transition back into the building,” Massey said

Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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