Central Square School District Plans To Combat Pandemic Learning Loss This School Year
Central Square has the largest geographic school district in the state. Like many other districts, they are awaiting guidance from the CDC and state officials as to how they may be required to comply with any COVID-19 precautions for the new school year. For now, the district plans to hold school five days a week with in-person classes. Superintendent Thomas Colabufo says their high school graduation rate was unchanged due to the pandemic, but the pandemic did impact other students.
“You know, remote learning, the whole covid situation, the pandemic, really resulted in a learning loss everywhere,” said Colabufo. “And it doesn’t mean that, ‘Wow. We have a bunch of kids failing,’ but we had kids that were normally top performers that were doing well, but not what they could have been doing if they were in school. So that’s huge.”
The Superintendent adds that the district did everything in its power to ensure instructional needs were met last school year. Despite all the efforts of teachers with remote learning, elementary students were negatively impacted. And that worries Colabufo.
“All the research shows if students aren’t reading on grade level by the end of 3rd grade they’re four times less likely to graduate on time. Then if they come from poverty, then that’s another nine times. That’s thirteen percent less likely to graduate,” said Colabufo.
He adds the district is planning to use its COVID relief funds on newly hired counselors and Academic Intervention Services. Plexiglas barriers will still be utilized in all cafeterias, and for now, students will have the choice to wear a mask or not. Central Square Schools transportation coverage area spans 200 square miles, which requires additional trips if social distancing is enforced on buses.