As Cincinnati Public Schools welcomed back nearly 36,000 students to their classrooms Thursday, district officials said they're making an extra effort to address potential learning loss that might have resulted with some students due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Noting one way the district is working proactively to address any slide in preparedness among students, Amat said, "We got a great start on it with our Summer Scholars program. So we had students come in for a month. So we started building those relationships and monitoring where they were academically, taking that knowledge and building forward."
The district also hired 45 reading specialists, citing literacy as the primary need among students catching up, along with additional social workers.
"We hired more social workers to help with those wrap-around services for our students and families," Amat said. "We want to hit it from both ends, making sure we’re taking care of the heart and mind."
Amat began the first day of school with reading in mind. She sat and read with first-graders at Rothenberg Preparatory Academy in Over-the-Rhine, where Alena Smith is principal. Smith said students being back in the classroom is a refreshing return to some semblance of routine, but the challenges need that proactive approach.
"It feels good to have a certain level of normalcy," she said. "We focus a lot on safety, so ensuring that our students still understand the expectations and the procedures. We're being very intentional. We'll have our bi-weekly data meeting where we are meeting with every teacher. We're identifying what strategies they're putting in place."