Students struggling on so many levels; Educators must play catch-up

Taylor Rising, an art teacher in a middle school, works at her classroom whiteboard. Courtesy of Taylor Rising

Margaret DeLaney, Olivia Varden and Chris Langley, LSU Manship School News Service

In fourth-grade teacher Laura Spurgeon’s class, the students who attended school in person during the pandemic sit in one area, and those who were online last year sit in another. A third group, the students still working from home, join in on a screen.

“It’s like I’m teaching three different levels instead of one,” Spurgeon said. “The students who still stay at home ‘sick’ and have to join via Zoom, the ones that opted for online last year and didn’t learn as much, and the kiddos who have been in person the entire time.”  With the COVID-19 disruptions, standardized test scores for students in grades 3 through 8 have fallen in 69 of 72 Louisiana school districts.

State performance scores for schools and school districts, released in early December, fell overall as well. Teachers, administrators and counselors are trying to figure out how to help many students catch up and get K-12 education back on track. However, they must determine how to reach students who are now performing at different levels while also dealing with the psychological fallout on children who had limited social contact during the shutdowns….

Read the full story in our Dec. 25, 2021, print edition