WAYNE, NJ – Assistant Superintendent of the Wayne Schools District, Donna Reichman gave a presentation during the last Board of Education meeting that discussed how the schools will address “lost learning,” and help students “recover academically.”
The presentation was entitled “Bridging the Gap: Current Intervention Strategies and Future Plans to Support Students.”
The Wayne school’s hybrid learning model that began in September included both in-classroom learning and virtual, remote learning. The plan was somewhat of a compromise that allowed parents to decide to send their children to school or to have them learn from home. The school schedule went from five full days of learning, to four days of basically little more than half-days.
“We know, academically, there are students who are struggling,” said Reichman. “We also know that, for some, attendance has been inconsistent. We have been working really hard to track down students who aren't regularly in school to find out why and work with their families to see what we can do to make sure that they do attend more regularly.”
Reichman also talked about the social and emotional challenges the students are experiencing and their lack of engagement.
“Many have had traumatic incidents in their homes; some have faced loss,” she said. “There had been personal and financial situations for many families that have impacted how students are focusing and feeling each day. It's a challenging time, and it's a scary time for so many.”
Current strategies presented by Reichman to help students include “looking at our curriculum and pacing guides,” to “prioritize the most important learning standards.”
She also mentioned of software that is in use by the district that includes iReady and LinkIt! “It is a digital portfolio where we capture and gather [student] data and we can filter by standard and identify what the trends are for individual students to provide intervention, provide remediation and look at ways to maximize their in-school time.”
“iReady is a program that targets specific skills,” Reichman explained. “Students can work independently to gain practice and advance through levels.”
“Our basic skills teachers and reading specialists are working really hard with the classroom teachers,” Reichman added. “They are trained to provide individual support and just identify targeted areas that need intervention.”
Planned and Future Interventions
The Assistant Superintendent talked about future plans, which also include Linkit! “There’s a feature called ‘grouping models,’ that puts together different intervention groups,” explained the Assistant Superintendent.
The plan, according to Reichman, to support these intervention groups includes basic skills teachers, reading specialists and the teaching staff to provide additional support by “meeting with students after class, during office hours or other times during the day.”
She mentioned benchmark assessments and diagnostic assessments that have been added to current curricula.
“These will be administered and it will be very informative just in terms of how we prioritize our instructional time for the remainder of the school year,” said Reichman. “As students advance to the next grade, we need to consider learning may have been lost and what areas or specific skills need to be addressed.”
Another strategy mentioned was “Offering time to have vertical articulation, so teachers can speak with the teacher from the previous grade and have conversations and work closely with their counselors and child study team to learn about these students.”
The district is working to identify “community resources” to help students with mental health issues and forming committees in each building to discuss struggling students and the best way to help them.
Possible Future Interventions
Lastly, Reichman mentioned “a number of things” they are considering, including summer school, Saturday academies, social-emotional programs that can be offered after school, study skill programs and assigning mentors to at-risk students.
“In short, I think it's important to know that we are well-aware of what the concerns are,” she said in conclusion. “We are fully prepared to address and really commit ourselves to offering programs over the summer and next year. We will be ready for this.”
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