FAIRVIEW PARK, Ohio — The lasting impact of the pandemic on students continues to find school districts seeking interventions to put them back on track.
In the Fairview Park City Schools, Teaching and Learning Director Melanie Wightman said the good news is internal data reveals academically-speaking students did not suffer learning losses that have been reported around the nation.
However, the district isn’t scot-free from the shutdown and hybrid learning environments students were forced to experience in 2020 and 2021.
“Our Gilles-Sweet Elementary teachers successfully facilitated an academic rebound in literacy and mathematics with most students,” Wightman said.
“However, there are students in all grades and of all ability levels who lost traction during the pandemic disruptions. They continue to need assistance to come from behind.”
Sensing that need, the district became aware of the Ohio Department of Education — through the US Department of Education — offering institutions of higher learning financial assistance to provide intensive tutoring.
While Fairview Park City Schools wasn’t eligible to apply, Wightman and Fairview Park City Schools Superintendent Keith Ahearn reached out to connections at Baldwin Wallace University about applying for the funds and creating a program.
“They responded almost immediately and said they were interested,” Wightman said. “They applied for the grant and received almost $300,000 to work with our students for the next couple of years.”
The new High Dosage Tutoring program finds Baldwin Wallace University education students three times a week helping out elementary school kids in literacy and mathematics.
“The program is mutually beneficial,” Baldwin Wallace University Academics professor Cynthia Dieterich said. “First through fifth-grade students at Gilles-Sweet Elementary School, who experienced learning loss due to the pandemic, will benefit from high-dosage tutoring sessions.
“Baldwin Wallace University teacher candidates majoring in education will have the opportunity to collaborate with classroom teachers and BW faculty to design, implement and assess students’ progress in an authentic school setting based on the school’s curriculum and the students’ needs.”
The tutoring pilot program includes eight undergraduate teacher candidates working with 11 Gilles-Sweet Elementary School teachers. Dieterich noted the tutoring pool will be expanded next semester to support even more elementary-level students in mathematics and literacy.
“The Baldwin Wallace University tutors zero in on the individual needs of students assigned to them and confer with classroom teachers regarding how best to personalize learning for individuals and small groups,” Wightman said.
“We’re already seeing positive synergy among all partners. It’s wonderful to know that the project will continue for two years and include a free summer opportunity for students. With that kind of longevity, real results can be possible.”
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