covid-19 pandemic

Test Scores Are Bad, Here's How Schools Are Fighting Back Against the Covid Slide

School districts have seen a notable digression in the state assessments given to K-12 students in Florida, highlighting the need for a change

NBC Universal, Inc.

The test scores are in, and they’re bad. There’s no way to sugarcoat double-digit regressions in the state assessments given to K-12 students in Florida. 
The school districts saw the handwriting on the wall months ago.

 “We sadly predicted what the state accountability scores would be,” said Alberto Carvalho, superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools. 

That’s why both Broward and Miami-Dade Public Schools created beefed up summer school programs. Broward’s ended yesterday, with more than 50,000 kids taking part. Miami-Dade had around 75,000 students in its Summer305 program, which wrapped up today after five weeks of class. 

“I think this really has caught them up with content that we’ve been teaching that they are going to need and we have reinforced skills that they might have lacked throughout the school year,” said Cindy Iturmendi in her classroom at Bob Graham Education Center. 

The plan was to to use the summer weeks to get kids back up to speed.

“Most of our learners here are learners that were online so this has been a good segue for them to come back to school in the fall to fill in those academic gaps,” said Yecenia Martinez, principal of Bob Graham Education Center in Miami Lakes, one of dozens of campuses which hosted summer school. 

What’s the opposite of online learning? Hands on learning, and about 75% of the curriculum over the summer involved kids doing things with their hands, like learning math and engineering concepts by building bridges and other activities.

 “It’s been great because they’ve been able to not only be academically challenged but we’ve also taken into account their mental state so we’ve done a lot of mindfulness in our school,” Martinez said. 

For example, we saw some of the students doing yoga. The district is investing in more reading coaches, math coaches, and counselors, so the superintendent is predicting a big academic rebound for this coming school year.

“In Miami-Dade, that rapid slide will be followed by a rapid incline in terms of learning gains and performance,” Carvalho said. 

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