Ohio schools submit extended learning plans to combat backsliding from the last year

return to in person learning masks classroom
Posted at 6:01 PM, Mar 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-31 18:41:20-04

Thursday is the deadline for schools to submit extended learning plans to the state of Ohio, after Governor Mike DeWine directed districts to come up with detailed plans to address student learning loss during the past year.

Over the past 12 months, schools in Ohio and across the country have bounced between remote learning, blended or hybrid models and traditional in-person instruction. Now that many Ohio schools are back in the classroom full-time, the state is hoping the plans created by the districts will help get students back on track.

"We definitely see learning loss, both with our remote and in-person students, from last spring," said Brenda Miller, director of curriculum for Northwest Local School District.

Northwest Local Schools has offered in-person learning during the entire school year, but the district said even those students are dealing with challenges from ending the last school year virtually. The district, like most in Ohio, has submitted a learning recovery plan to the Ohio Department of Education outlining how it plans to identify and address academic, social and emotional needs for students.

"But we are definitely building plans for both virtual and in-person learners to address their learning needs throughout the summer and into the next couple school years," said Miller. "It's obviously a constantly evolving plan and it gets better and better as we get more people at the table with ideas."

Northwest is expanding summer learning options throughout the district and covering the cost of an eight-week immersive experience for 300 elementary students who are most in need. That program will provide reading and math instruction along with other learning opportunities five days a week. The district is also developing programs for middle and high school students while expanding music options.

"So we've got a lot," said Miller. "Our schools are going to be open and running full speed all summer long. Which I think is a great thing and we love having our kids here."

Other schools in the Greater Cincinnati region are expanding summer learning this year, including Fairfield and Lakota.

Districts are also looking at how to better support students over the next few school years through the learning recovery plans. Some of those potential changes include bringing on additional staff, improving virtual learning options and expanding before- and after-school programs.

"Ultimately, we need kids to like learning and we want to make sure that they feel like they belong and are being connected here in our school," said Miller.

You can find the learning recovery plan for your Ohio school district here. The state posts the plans within 24 hours of receiving them from the district, so if a district is missing, check back in a day or so.