How will the school help my child catch up after the COVID-19 school closings?

After missing school time during the Coronavirus lockdowns last Spring, many students will be behind in grade-level skills.

This is especially likely for students who were already struggling in school, and those who rely on special education services.

Louisiana Schools have a plan to help students catch up! 

There are 3 main strategies that schools may use when a student is behind. You may hear some of these terms:

      1. Retention: When a student repeats a grade instead of moving up.
      2. Remediation: When teachers give the student easier work than other students get. For example, instead of grade-level books they will assign an easier book or handout.
      3. Acceleration: Teachers give the student the same grade-level work as everyone else, but also give supports that help them to catch up and do the work, even if it’s hard for them.


Research shows that the best way to help students catch up is acceleration. This is the strategy that Louisiana schools are supposed to be doing.                                                 

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Example:

  • Say your child is starting 4th -grade They should be using 4th-grade books and other texts at the 4th grade reading level.
  • The class is reading a book about hurricanes and your child is having trouble. It could be because they don’t understand the grammar, because they struggle with reading fluency, or because they are not familiar with the topic and its vocabulary.
  • Maybe the class missed part of the 3rd grade unit on Cajun Folk Tales. This is where they would have learned some key vocabulary and background knowledge about Louisiana history. This will help them understand the reading in the 4th grade Hurricane unit.
  • Instead of assigning your child an easier book about hurricanes, the teacher should give support for understanding the 4th grade materials. They could give some extra help to the whole class to learn the background information and vocabulary they would have learned last year.

What should schools be doing?

  • Assessments at the beginning of the year to see if the student is at grade level, and where they need extra help.
  • Regular curriculum-based assessments: week by week snapshots of how your child is doing with the lessons in their class at any given time.
  • Adding supports for each student to help them do grade-level work.
  • Accelerating the learning by helping with background knowledge, vocabulary, or other skills that students need to do the work.
  • Following the IEPs and 504 plans of students who have them. If your child missed services during the lockdown, they should be able to get Compensatory Services. Click here to learn more.

How can I advocate for acceleration?

  • Find out what level of schoolwork and reading texts your child is doing.
  • Encourage the teachers to support grade level material rather than giving easier work.
  • Ask for your child’s scores on the assessments. What do they say about your child's skills and knowledge? 
  • Keep in touch with the teacher as the weeks go by. 

What do grade-level skills look like?

If you want to see the kinds of things that the school expects students to know in different grades, click here to see the LEAP 2025 Practice Tests. (Scroll down to Practice Tests and pick your child's grade and the subject you want to see.)

Click on the links below to learn more about the statewide performance test and what's expected in different grades:

 

Learn more:

See these other pages from Exceptional Lives. (They'll open in new windows.)

 

Sources: The New Teacher Project (TNPT), The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) 

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