LYNCHBURG, Va. – Teachers and parents have known for some time now that K-12 students have fallen behind during the pandemic. While recent data shows improvements, a large number of Lynchburg City Schools students are still testing below grade level.
In math and reading, many students are behind where they would be after a normal year. Setbacks grew over time and continued after returning to the classroom.
“It’s hard for me to say that we can take someone that’s below grade level, and in the next three months give them intensive support to get them on grade level,” Lynchburg City Schools Deputy Superintendent Amy Pugh said. “That’s just not possible. For some students it may be, for others, it might not be.”
Recent test scores from Lynchburg City Schools show on average about 50% of students are below grade level in reading.
When it comes to math, that number is closer to 60%. However, Pugh said they are focused on growth.
“It’s not a learning loss and it’s not a drop,” she said. “It’s just that some of the students in that particular grade level are not gaining as quickly as others. It doesn’t mean we just throw our hands in the air and say we don’t need to do anything about it.”
LCS is testing students throughout the year to track growth. Those below grade level scores in math and reading have improved by about 20% and 16%, respectively.
“They spend time working on the skills the system says they have a deficit in,” Pugh said. “Then on Mondays, they take it again to pinpoint and see how they’ve grown.”
On top of this, LCS brought on extra tutors that are available before, during and after school. Teachers are working with students in small groups and individually.
They also offer a summer program for K-8 that they will recommend for some.