Many Montgomery County Public Schools students have had educational setbacks since the coronavirus pandemic began, with students of color hit particularly hard.
New data from the school district shows dramatic drops in elementary school students’ math and English test scores.
Literacy readiness dropped 35% for second graders from the 2018-2019 to 2020-2021 schools years, the data shows. Math readiness for fifth graders was down 25%.
Literacy was down for Black second graders by 38%. Hispanic second graders had a 46% drop.
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“COVID has taken a tremendous toll on our schools and communities,” said Nora Morales, program director of the nonprofit Identity, Inc., which offers learning programs for Latino youth.
The Rockville organization has seen a spike in students who need help.
MCPS data released last week shows learning loss during the pandemic for students of all ages.
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“We know there really was no substitute for that in-classroom teaching,” said Ruschelle Reuben, the school district’s chief of teaching, learning and schools.
The school district is focused on training and helping students catch up. They’re emphasizing one-on-one time and small-group learning, and monitoring students’ mental health. The district will offer free summer school, Reuben said.
“We have those tutoring opportunities, we have those small-group opportunities. It’s a chance to really work with teachers intentionally, for them to look at those students and where they landed,” Reuben said.
The school district has a teacher shortage and needs to fill about 300 slots.