Ed Affairs Committee Presentation May 2021
With co-chair Jennifer Lowman presiding, Educational Affairs convened over Zoom on Tuesday, May 25. Assistant Superintendent Dr. Tamara Thomas Smith and STEM Director Dr. Brian Reilly presented on next steps for school closing and opening in the pandemic.
Dr. Reilly presented about 2020-21 data collection for elementary, middle school and high school students through assessments and standardized tests, as compared to the prior year. The pandemic impacted the reliability and validity of the data collected pertaining to academic performance and growth. Data is impacted by students taking the tests at home without teacher supervision and under extraordinary circumstances.
Dr. Smith spoke about learning loss, “any specific or general loss of knowledge and skills or reversals of academic progress, most commonly due to extended gaps or discontinuities in a student’s education,” and referred to four articles examining the issue. The theme of the articles is there is no consistent response to what learning loss means, how students have responded or how to measure the loss, and the school district is moving forward with the understanding many of our students responded differently to the pandemic and to the district’s different learning models. CSD is still gathering data about what students need to overcome the learning loss. Dr. Smith reviewed the manner in which the building-level administrators have supported students during this time. Looking ahead, the district will address learning loss in the following ways:
- Create and administer year end exams that focus on the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s priority standards
- Design and implement K-12 summer experiences to support instructional loss
- Design and implement a before and after school program for the 2021-22 school year.
- Full Day of Teacher Collaboration
- Professional Development for Staff
- Mental Health/Social and Emotional Support