Top educators, leaders say getting students back on track after year of remote learning needs to be on individual basis

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(WTNH) — As we continue covering the effects of the pandemic on our youth we are talking with our state’s top educators and leaders. They’re addressing the biggest problems facing our students and what needs to happen as we move forward.

Fran Rabinowitz is the Executive Director of the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents. She has more than 40 years of experience as an educator and started out as an elementary school teacher.

She tells News 8, “I think we still have to face the fact that our students had very different experiences across the state. It was different for many of our students in Bridgeport for example than Darian.”

As we assess the effects of the pandemic, Rabinowitz says we need to handle every district and every child individually.

“Let’s see where our students are certainly. We’re going to fill in the gaps but let’s concentrate on where they need to be for next year and what kind of standards do we want them to meet for next year and how we get them to those standards.”

Rochelle Brown is a kindergarten teacher at Poquonock Elementary School in Windsor. This year she received a new title, “So my new title is, Connecticut’s Teacher of the Year 2021.” 

Brown says, “And I feel like it’s been a very tumultuous year for the kids. They’ve had to go through a lot of things emotionally some of them have dealt with death in their family.” 

Rabinowitz says we need to take what we’ve learned from this year and move in the direction of equity despite district, “Just the number of kids in a classroom, when you’re remote learning and have 28 in a class or 18 in a class it’s a very different experience.” 

But the question remains, did we see a learning loss? 

“I hate that phrase because to me I don’t consider myself losing out this year, I gained so much.”

Their focus moving forward is on formative assessment, “You can ask children questions, do a short writing assignment, yes some testing but testing isn’t the end all be all,” says Rabinowitz. 

Brown says, “Every student is not going to have the same needs. We have to have a way of really figuring out what it is each student needs so that we can address their specific deficits.” 

But, Rabinowitz encourages parents to not lose hope, we have to know this year is different than any year past, “We can’t assume that every child is suffering from horrendous learning loss that’s a terrible premise.”

Rabinowitz says, “There is not a one size fits all for what is coming forward.”

Now, we need to figure out the standard for where we want our children to be and how to get them to that standard over the next year and beyond.  

OUR THREE-PART SERIES BEGINS: Student ‘summer slide’ on studies has turned into a ‘pandemic plummet’ with the future uncertain

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