DANVILLE, Va. – This school year will go down as one like no other.
According to the National Education Association, millions of students have fallen behind academically during an unprecedented year that pulled them from the every day school routine.
“We’ve seen a disengagement of students,” Danville Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Angela Hairston says. “Students aren’t engaged in the work.”
Dr. Hairston says now is the time to take action. To fight the learning loss, they’ve spent the last several months working with students, teachers, parents and the community to come up with a five-year strategic plan to invest in bright futures.
“It’s from the ground up. When you build a plan that addresses the perceived needs and the real needs of the community, you get buy in,” Dr. Hairston says.
Starting with the summer, they’re adding back five instructional days with more than 800 students working with teachers to address learning loss.
Come fall, a whole list of changes, including a new local curriculum.
“The state provides a wonderful framework, but we have to provide our own curriculum,” Dr. Hairston says. “It goes back to teacher empowerment, believing that our teachers have the ability to create the curriculum that is necessary for our children.”
The district also plans to hire more teachers to reduce class size, host teacher advisement and student leadership meetings and invest in counselors to address social and emotional needs.
“We have to believe as a community, we must believe as parents, we must believe as educators that our children can excel and do well,” Dr. Hairston says.
She adds climate and culture will lead the community toward helping better future generations.