Oregon, Washington plan to address students’ unfinished learning

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Educators are laser-focused on moving forward with their students' learning

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — After an unprecedented year of remote learning, Oregon and Washington schools are planning how to respond to students’ unfinished learning this upcoming year.

Oregon

The Oregon Department of Education has a plan on how they’re going to pick up where the pandemic has left off. The ODE says they’re advising teachers to start with what students can do, listen to their stories and meet them where they are at. Teachers will then be able to determine what students are ready to learn next.

Student Learning: Unfinished, Not Lost

ODE suggests figuring out the status of student’s learning by collecting some work, including:

  • Family and student empathy interviews
  • Interim Assessments
  • Performance Tasks
  • Formative Assessment 
  • Presentations and Project Designs
  • Student-led conferences
  • Student self-reflections
  • Universal screeners
  • Curriculum-based assessments
  • Student portfolios, including artwork

This list shows the ODE is planning on taking a very holistic approach to understand students’ development over the past year. The department tells KOIN 6 News these type of approaches are more well-rounded than a single test.

Not only does this approach to unfinished learning inform teaching, but they say it also builds relationships between students and teachers — which is something they know kids need right now.

Washington

Meanwhile, the Washington Office of Superintendents of Public Instructions also has a plan on how they’re going to pick up learning where the pandemic left off.

Washington education leaders say this is an opportunity for schools to improve — but that this is not the time to “return to normal.” Educators have learned from remote and hybrid learning due to the pandemic. Teachers have been able to identify student needs and adjust to make significant and sustainable progress toward serving each student’s needs.

Washington’s overarching guidance is for districts to utilize academic and well-being screening tools for each student to determine the kinds of support they will need as they return to buildings full-time. Officials say many districts already utilized these practices prior to the pandemic and know how to expand and extend support for students as needed.

Washington educators are also planning to specifically address the academic learning and well-being needs of students, along with student groups impacted by COVID-19 within an equity framework.

Washington Academic and Student Well-Being Recovery Plan

The interactive process uses a three-phase planning approach with strategies designed to help schools in thinking about immediate needs, and plan for longer-term learning goals. Those phases, as per the Washington OSPI, are listed as follows:

  • Phase 1 — June 2021: Initial LEA plan for academic and student well-being recovery and acceleration strategies to be implemented for the summer and early fall of 2021.
  • Phase 2 — November 2021: Review and analyze student data from the implemented Phase 1 strategies/interventions for each student group identified. Reflect and build on learning. Adjust and begin longer-term planning of recovery and acceleration strategies/interventions for implementation over the winter and throughout the school year 2021–22. Continue to collect data.
  • Phase 3 — April 2022: Continue improvement cycle for strategies/interventions implemented in Phases 1 and 2 by reviewing and analyzing the collected data to inform next steps and engage in long-term sustained strategies for the next school year and beyond (2022–23+) (e.g., moving to a balanced calendar, implementing standards-based grading, or project based learning).

It will be a work in progress for both states — but educators are laser-focused on moving forward.

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