After year of remote learning, metro students and parents working to get back on track

Education

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – Students and families find themselves playing catchup.

The 2021 school year is underway and kids find themselves back in the classroom after a year that was mostly remote learning.

Many students are recovering, in an academic sense, having struggles with cyber classwork instead of traditional learning in a school environment.

Parents are desperate to bridge that education gap and get kids back on track. In many cases, student grades that were good before COVID-19 struck turned bad while students learned from computer screens, where traditional instructors did the best they could.

Alli Kinser, who hails from nearby Lee’s Summit, Missouri, knows the helpless feeling. Delays in academic progress even hit younger students, including her preschooler, Hudson, who struggled a little when kindergarten began this year.

“Nobody can give you answeres. Nobody can point you toward a direction where there is a solution,” Kinser said.

Kinser is along the millions of parents who are searching for answers. Teachers are doing their best to keep students from falling further behind. Learning facilities, such as Overland Park’s Mathnasium and Brain Balance in Lee’s Summit, have various methods and curriculums to help students sharpen up.

“We get a lot of students who are pulling out their homework who say – this is supposed to be a review, but I don’t think I ever learned this,” Lauren Waldo, an instructor at Mathnasium, said. “There’s going to be a lot of – we’re going to cram things in quickly so we can get back on pace.”

“During the pandemic, we had a lot of time of uncertainty and stress. That stress on the brain creates gaps in development. What we have to do is close those gaps so that child can continue to learn more successfully,” Roxanne Evans, owner at Brain Balance said on Wednesday.

Students in the Olathe School District were offered opportunities at the district level during the summer to catch up on learning, and for secondary learners, to recover credits they risked losing.

A spokesperson from that district said student MAP testing scores actually improved during the stretch from 2018 to 2021, despite remote learning.

For students in the Blue Valley School District, teachers plan to constantly assess the learning level of their students and adjust as they go. Dr. Katie Collier, a deputy superintendent with that school system, said educators are working to get students caught up efficiently.

“When we think about success, we’re going to first look about success at the individual student level. That varies from student to student. We’re going to make sure we’re reporting that to parents either through parent-teacher conferences or grade reports,” Collier said.

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