Data on learning losses experienced by students during the COVID-19 pandemic are included, and the results are astonishing. Around the world, studies show significant levels of learning loss in all grades. The main contribution was the disruption of classroom education and the introduction of distance learning.
One exception to this trend is private schools, where they can continue to study an individual after the end of the siege, although protective measures such as distance and masking have been taken. This week, North Coast Weekend met with administrators of private schools across the North Coast to find out their perspectives on students ’emotional, mental and academic health.
“I think one of the advantages of independent schools during the whole pandemic was that they were smaller and were able to be really flexible and really agile,” said Tom Flemma, headmaster of the Northern Country Day School (NSCDS) in Vinnetka. “Almost all of them are open. For us, in addition to the highest priority of security, the next highest priority was the maintenance and protection of our overall program. ”
Flemma says the “principle of governance” in the NSCDS was to keep the school open at all ages as much as possible.
“It’s still not the same as before, and any change is difficult for teachers and students, administrators and parents,” Flemma says. “There’s been a lot of change in the way they study and the way they structure their days, which is still difficult for a lot of people. But scientifically, children are in the same place they should be.”
For Alex Sheridan, director of registration, marketing and financial support at Lake Forest County Day School (LFCDS), navigation has been a community endeavor for the past two years.
“I don’t think anyone is taking the opportunity to be in the LFCDS. I think everyone knows the role that the community has played in our guidance,” Sheridan says. “Every community struggled with the pandemic in its own way, but since the kids were in school, we were happy.”
Sheridan says the loss of education has not been a serious problem for current students, but the school is seeing a lot of problems with the influx of new students, especially those who have spent a long time in distance learning.
“We understand that the applicant’s profile is now a little different than it was two years ago, and that’s not because of the applicant, but because of the situation they were in and are forced to deal with,” he says. “But other than what we’re already doing, there’s no specific or articulated plan, which means offering a program that’s very individual and very different to start with.”
Apparently, there is no better school than the Fusion Academy in Evanston to help its students get out of Hurricane COVID-19. Fusion provides individualized training for students with a 1: 1 teacher-to-student ratio, a model that can be particularly effective during disruption. For Fusion School principal Chrissy Dale, she is also concerned about the mental and emotional health of her students.
“It’s timely because I’ve recently met with a lot of mental health professionals and more collaborations are happening,” Dale says. “A conversation I had with mental health professionals last week showed that the academic piece is worrying and the shortcomings need to be explored over a long period of time with their appearance,” he says. “What was interesting was not just the emotional and social fragmentation that affected mental health, but just the normal stages of development.”
Dale says she observes the influx of new students, in part due to parents ’concerns about their mental and emotional health. Children spend hours and hours sitting in the same room, trying to learn on their own from a distance.
“I think they’re coming in because they’re more concerned about mental health and socio-emotional needs, because that’s a specific problem on their list – especially if their child is struggling.” says Dale. “Appetite and depression are the two most problematic. I think they are grateful to Fusion, for having a safe place for the airport and just a real network of teacher support and a lot of individual attention.”
The Holy Heart School in Vinnetka will soon be testing its students for the third time since the start of the pandemic, and principal Margaret Webb says she has not seen any drop in scores yet.
“Fortunately, the Holy Heart has been facing the pandemic all its life, so the study has continued,” Webb says. “We’ve seen normal and good progress this year, so I’m happy.”
Webb says he lends to teachers and a smaller school environment to give teachers extra time for students. This gives students who may have been in the process of learning to drop out to catch up with them. And while some activities should have been suspended due to social exclusion, she is happy to see a return to normal.
“Children come back to groups where it’s an exploratory and exploratory environment and it feels good,” he said, “We just held a big STEM fair where they worked in groups and produced products together. we forced the community to come in and go out and look at the STEM fair products. It was great to be able to show that nothing really missed a hit. “
Tony Frank, headmaster of Rochelle Zell Jewish High School in Deerfield, says the school’s priority was to help students feel like they were returning to “normal” and create a conducive environment for this.
“We really want to help students recover from this normal feeling of loss. It is said that from what we read and learn, we see lasting consequences, ”Frank said. our politics and now the international scene. ”
And as long as Frank says he wants to see a return to normal, he won’t wait for the mirror of life before the pandemic.
“I think the normal is being redefined everywhere and we don’t know what the normal is anymore,” he said. “It’s very confusing for all types, but it definitely plays out in schools.”
Frank adds that often school is a place where students can feel stable with social connections and class life routines.
“It’s very similar when students struggle at home if there is a loss or a divorce. The best thing for the kids is to continue coming to school because it’s so normal that we keep it here from school, it’s good for the students, ”Frank said. at least part of the day to maintain a normal feeling. “
Like other private schools, the Northridge Preparatory School in Niles has programs that are designed to help enrollment students who are lagging behind.
“We may find some that are a year behind, but we were able to put it on our schedule,” said Niall Fagan, director of Northridge Prep. “We did a few summer camps and other activities to get the students to learn faster.”
The issue of integrating new students can be a major challenge for schools, as parents are more likely to look for options that meet their children’s emotional and educational needs.
“We have increased the number of registrations because people do not want their children to study online, especially with young children. It’s one thing for a high school student to study online, but it’s another thing for a kindergartener to be away from school, ”said Katie Thompson, assistant principal at St. Mary’s School in Lake Forest. “We sent the children to a school that was online a year and a half before they came here, and their skill set was not there. They have lost two years of their lives. ”
But Thompson says St. Mary’s School and other similar schools are specifically located to help children left behind.
“We’ve remained very stable with fewer class sizes, more personal attention, and a greater focus on socio-emotional well-being, because that’s really important,” Thompson says. “Our hope is that parents will see that there is another way to educate their children.”