LAKEWOOD, Ohio — To offset any learning loss related to remote and hybrid learning during the pandemic, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine asked public school districts to create their own plan helping students get back on track.
That effort began in earnest for the Lakewood City Schools last month during spring break with the district’s invite-only “Spring into STEM” program.
“We had approximately 100 students grade K-8 participate in ‘Spring into Stem,’ which was the kickoff of our 2021 intervention, enrichment and acceleration programs that we’re going to be offering starting in spring but also throughout the summer and next year,” said Lakewood City Schools Assistant Superintendent Maggie Niedzwiecki, who replaces outgoing Superintendent Michael J. Barnes this summer.
“These were students that were selected to just kind of jump-start them with reading and math but through STEM activities. It was a success for students who were back in school and really trying to accelerate potential learning loss that occurred during COVID-19.”
Looking ahead, the district is planning a multi-prong approach to help students not only catch up academically but also stay engaged to stave off the summer slide.
The more robust summer program includes an invite-only summer school and August Academies, as well as academic camps open to the entire student body.
The initiatives vary in content and length but focus on STEM, literacy and a social-emotional component. The open offerings range from academic and instrumental camps to “Camp Invention,” “Makerspace Camp,” “Summer Reading & Math Camp” and “Kindergarten Boot Camp.”
“We have our normal intervention planned but we’ve also developed jumpstart learning programs in August for students K-12,” Niedzwiecki said. “Also, anyone can attend our STEM offerings or our makerspace offerings that we will be hosting.
“At Lakewood High School, we’re also hosting many more acceleration programs for kids who want to move their learning forward because they feel like they’ve been hindered through COVID-19 from growth opportunities. The best part about it is we’re going to offer all of it for free.”
That’s because the state recently awarded Lakewood $4.7 million to help address student learning loss. The funds can be spent through 2023.
As far as learning loss is concerned, Niedzwiecki said the district has internal ways to monitor student growth measures, which indicated a learning dip during the pandemic. On a positive note, since students returned to all-in instruction achievement is on the rise.
Sign-ups for the summer intervention, enrichment and acceleration programs begin later this month through the Lakewood Recreation Department’s community magazine.
“Given that large amount of money, it just goes to show how much our state believes in educating our students and the development of their career and college opportunities as early as PreK,” Niedzwiecki said. “We’re very pleased that we’re able to offer our families free opportunities.”
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