WACO, Texas (KWTX) – It’s been over a year since kids have experienced a normal school year, and all the changes have taken a toll on what students are learning in the classroom. Now, Waco ISD is looking to summer school and beyond to help students catch up.
Deena Cornblum, assistant superintendent for curriculum and leadership, said the district plans to have summer school at different levels, depending on what a student needs.
One level would be a real-time virtual method. Cornblum said that could help students who are behind, possibly because of attendance issues or missing work. Another option would be face to face learning some days, with asynchronous virtual learning on other days. If students are significantly behind, they may need to attend fully in-person summer school.
Cornblum said in order for students to be successful, the district needs to know exactly what students need help with.
“We really need to be looking specifically at what those learning needs are and creating specific learning plans to address those needs,” Cornblum said. “So, intervention has never been a one size fits all.”
The district has regular testing to show where students need extra help, and that data driven approach is a big part of how the district is planning for next year as well.
Cornblum said it isn’t possible to close the gaps that may have been created over the last year and a half in a month of summer school. She said the main focus for the district is next school year.
Cornblum said a lot of time and focus is going into that planning, especially for how to make sure each student’s needs are met. She said that includes the students who may not have fallen behind during the year.
“It’s not just thinking about our students who may need additional support, Cornblum said. “It’s thinking about all of our students to ensure that we’re designing the correct learning opportunities for them.”
While preparing for the upcoming year, Cornblum said the district is looking at all the needs, like bringing in extra staff and extra resources, to make sure each student succeeds. She said some of those preparations were already in the works, but the pandemic has made the changes imperative.
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