MARSHALL – On March 2, the Department of Public Education published a study of the impact of COVID-19 on schools, and like other school systems, Madison County Schools suffered significant deficiencies.
At a meeting on March 28 at the Central Office, Madison County Board of Education and Superintendent Will Hoffman explained in detail what the administration would do to compensate for these losses.
“To make up for the loss of training and academic recovery as a result of the pandemic, we have hired academic professionals in our schools,” Hoffman said. “These interventions used a level-based system that is supported by data to implement a small group guide throughout the day. very open-eyed and amazing. We were amazed at this, but we weren’t surprised because we knew all over the state, we knew what would happen without a face-to-face guide. “
The study, “Analysis of the Impact of COVID-19 on Missing Learning Time,” predicted scores for the 2020-21 academic year in final state exams (EOG) and course completion (EOC) with their actual scores for comparison. .
“Come back and analyze and say where are we now?” It’s important to know where we’re going in a one-year, three-year, or five-year strategic plan, ”Hoffman said. or students were out of economic trouble. ”
An analysis of state findings on Madison County School students
Curriculum Director Monica Ponder spoke to the board about the results of the study.
According to the report, school systems across the state experienced a decline in reading and math from third to eighth grade, fifth- and eighth-grade science courses, and English II, Math I, and Math III at the secondary school level.
According to the study, compared to the 2018-19 EOG / EOC scores for 2020-21, English II was the only course in which school systems across the state did not suffer.
“Our focus should be on‘ let’s dig a little more into our local data ’and then‘ what is our response to that? said Ponder.
According to the curriculum director, the report showed a “significant decline in the percentage of students who were qualified in our district”.
“There was a 10-20 point drop in each region,” Ponder said. “The board is the most important thing for us in math. Here we really focus on our intervention piece across the board and reading the elementary grades. Those kids were in 1st and 2nd grade when they got this basic knowledge.” reading skills when we were locked up, went home and dropped out of school. “
According to a Ponder slide submitted to the board from the study, in 2018-19, 65.8% of MCS students had skills in all subjects, compared to 54.6% in 2020-21.
In all subjects, there was a significant loss of learning in 3rd grade math, where 78.5% of Madison County students were proficient in 2018-19, compared to 49.7% last year.
Another significant learning loss occurred in 5th grade mathematics, which was 57.9% last year compared to 81% in 2018-19.
Objectives for the implementation of intervention specialists
The school system recruited 15 academic intervention specialists using the Primary and Secondary School Emergency Care Fund (ESSER), which was funded by the Coronavirus Aid and Economic Security Act (CARES) in 2020-21.
Madison County schools were eligible to receive $ 5,597,278 in the projected plot. Funding will be provided until 2024.
“Our focus this school year and in the years to come is a strategic intervention for everyone,” Ponder said. “Our interventions are in our buildings. They are our best teachers.”
Christine Dillon, a K-5 intervention specialist based at Mars Hill Elementary, explained in detail the day-to-day operation of the intervention model at the meeting.
According to Dillon, the model uses a multidisciplinary approach, and the school system has used parts of the model in its three primary schools over the years.
“One piece is that we’re going to help teachers with the new assessment tools they need to use this year,” Dillon said. “We help them manage this assessment, so when we have the data and interpret the data, we use that information to categorize our children. So, as Ms. Ponder said, we don’t just ask students to do something specific. We see gaps in skills, but across the board where their area of need is. Coordination of these groups depends on how students perform either on the basis of progress monitoring data or comparative data. All children are strategically involved. take a 30-minute or 45-minute reading block and a 30-minute math block four days a week. “
Dillon said the availability of intervention staff is important to provide guidance to the small group, which has allowed the administration to target K-5 students in particular and allow teachers to improve their teaching methods.
“We spend a lot of time in informational meetings with teachers about specific lesson plans, and then we try to direct this guide to that child with an expert teacher, with expert lessons in a small group,” Dillon said. “It was an amazing thing to make sure we have continuity across the city and that all three of our elementary schools are involved in this. Another awareness of this is helping our teachers in their continuous improvement model.” we deliver and strengthen the way it is delivered. With the interventionists, we can actually sit down with the teachers and help them. ”
Michelle Franklin, an intervention specialist at Madison High School, said the high school did not have the opportunity to work in small groups, unlike the county’s K-5 schools.
“We use the elementary model to build our model in high school,” Franklin said. “We engage students in each class for up to 30 minutes each day. We review information from enrollment, classroom instruction and assessment given, and we build our groups based on these needs.”
Franklin said the typical week for a high school intervention expert group includes a Friday meeting with teachers, which is the team’s first focus.
“So we meet with our teachers on Fridays and talk about the guidelines they give in the classroom, the concepts they cover, and what we can do as intervenors over the next week to see what they can do. included, let’s talk. class, ”Franklin said. “That’s why we pull our small groups out of there. We’re also pushing the classrooms to help in collaborative learning. Many (loss of learning) activate previous knowledge that students forget they have. ”
The chief said he hopes the administration’s intervention model will help combat learning losses during the pandemic.
“I think the architecture of our intervention model is strong in all of our schools. It’s just a matter of implementing it to strategically compensate for learning losses,” Hoffman said.