MS educators planning to help students who fell behind during pandemic

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WINSTON AND MONROE COUNTIES, Miss. (WCBI)- Learning in the classroom is vital for student achievement.

Since the pandemic started, it’s challenging for some students to keep up with assignments and other tasks.

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On Thursday, the Mississippi Department of Education announced A-F accountability grades and assessments are suspended for schools and districts statewide for the 2020-2021 school year.

Administrators are developing plans to keep students focused while adjusting to learning in the pandemic.

After 10 months of being out of the classroom setting, school districts throughout Mississippi have one less burden to worry about, tests.

The principal of Smithville Schools, Chad O’Brian, believes it places a new meaning on education.

” We’re still concentrating every day on providing quality instruction. Anytime you have a situation where kids miss a fourth of the year’s worth of instruction. There’s going to be learning loss. Our goal at the beginning of the year is to diagnose where our students are, and then we know how to fill those gaps,” said O’Brian.

Monroe County School District Superintendent, Brian Jernigan said, “We continue to monitor the learning and growth of our students using screenings ,teacher assessments, and benchmarks assessments. We provide specific interventions for those students who are not performing at the expected level within the classroom and outside of the classroom.”

While quarterly tests won’t happen this time around, it doesn’t mean students are free from other assignments.

Students must complete federally administered tests during the semester.

” A student may look and say ‘ I don’t have to pass that particular state test to be promoted or to graduate. Those students still have to pass that class. We are holding the responsibility of making sure those classes meet state requirements.”

David Luke is the Superintendent for the Louisville Municipal School District. He says it’s vital classes understand assessment suspensions will not dismiss other needed criteria.

“We have to evaluate what we’ve been doing good and which virtual students are showing success and what representation methods as teachers have we been doing that’s working and try to replicate that into the future,” said Luke.

Luke says teachers are analyzing achievement goals and rebuilding learning losses over the next couple of weeks.

” We’ve got to look at accelerating that learning piece in the classroom to make sure we’re filling the gap,” said Luke.

New policies by the Mississippi Department of Education are now in effect.