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Students one of the most affected groups as a result of the pandemic, this is how one White County school helps their students to get back on track



Many of the students were forced to spend most their school year last year at home. Some of them were forced into quarantine, but in general schools across the country held virtual teaching that led to unsatisfactory results from the students. And they are surely not to blame.

The impact from the pandemic might cause long-term problems for generations of students and that is fact that can’t be changed.

However, one White County elementary school is doing everything in their power to support students and minimize the gap they experienced during this year in a half. Pangburn Elementary School are seeing struggling students as soon as they came back to in-person teaching.

“It’s because of the shutdown, because of the kids being in quarantine, because of some kids doing virtual school last year,” Pangburn School District Superintendent David Rolland said.

According to him, that’s why they are putting all their funds in closing the gap as much as they can.

“We can’t make those reasons our excuses,” Rolland said.

Rolland added that they have used multiple different things to close the gap. One of them is that the school held “summer school” program for children in need from June to the end of July. Teachers came and spent more time with students that needed help, Elementary Principal Mary Rieck said.

“Students who needed that extra boost and move on throughout the summer without the break,” Rieck said.

With almost 40% of students falling behind, that extra help didn’t stop when all students hit the halls.

“We’ve never seen learning loss like this,” Literacy Facilitator Stephanie Vernon said.

The school effort continues despite the start of the school year. Vernon added that the school prepared a special program forming a several small groups mainly on reading.

“Phonics work and then moving on from there to comprehension, fluency, vocabulary. Those are the areas that are weak right now that we’re really working on,” Vernon said.

The school reportedly opened an after-school program too. Teachers and students will focus on reading, math and specialized teachers are staying late to achieve that goal.

“That is our number one priority is to get these kids on grade level,” Assistant Principal Suzanne Louks said.

“We celebrate every ounce of growth that we get from the kids. It will take beyond this year to really close the gap,” Vernon said.

The district continues to test students to see where they stand and how much ground they are making up.