Madison City Schools is tackling Covid learning loss with two new programs that is already earning great reviews from students and teachers alike.
Liberty Middle School student Abigail Rencilman said it was tough to learn things virtually during the pandemic. She said it was also hard to find help.
"You just had to push your way through it and work your way through it," Rencilman said.
The struggles didn't go unnoticed, and teachers are now seeing the effects that virtual learning had on kids' education.
"Even like my highest kids, who you expect to be even further along, are not quite where they used to be," third-grade teacher Lauren Cecil said.
They are doing their best to close the gap.
"Coming up with a million other ways and strategies to just find ways to fill those gaps and fill those holes that kids have," Cecil said.
That's why Madison City Schools started two after-school programs to get kids where they need to be. Cecil said the programs are "really just picking up on whatever (students) need or what they're missing, whether that's reading comprehension, fluency, phonics, vocabulary or in math."
Elementary schools have an after-school tutoring program that's available twice a week for reading and math. Essentially, kids stay an hour after school to be in smaller classes. Teachers and administrators have developed a unique curriculum to focus on the needed skills.
Meanwhile, middle and high school students have access to a homework help line to help answer any questions they may have on their work or an upcoming test. That help line is available online through WebEx.
It's only been a week since these programs first became available, but Cecil has already seen how the program helped her students.
"I can already see improvements in their work and their writing," Cecil said. "It's really helping, just even an hour after school."
Rencilman has even taken advantage of the homework help line.
"I could just hop on if there was a concept I didn't understand or a review I want to go over for a test, to just help me better understand what was going on and what I need to know to help me feel more confident," Rencilman said.
She encouraged other students to take advantage of the programs. Cecil hopes they do, too.
"We hope to be able to catch those kids up and then maybe bring in more students, or bring more tutors and bring in more students that way," Cecil said, adding the goal is to get them caught up before the end of the year.
Both programs are being made available through an emergency relief fund aimed at tackling COVID learning loss in schools.