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Local schools offering programs to help students catch up from pandemic

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Posted at 6:08 PM, Oct 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-06 19:23:51-04

TULSA, Okla.  — Low statewide test scores show learning slowed during the pandemic. Teachers and schools now have a big task ahead of them, helping students recover any learning loss from the pandemic.

“We had so many interruptions last year with COVID needing to shut down a class for 10 days," said Rita Long, principal at Ellen Ochoa Elementary School.

But how do you keep students interested in learning even after the school day is over?

“Engagement is huge," Long said. "We have to have them there wanting to learn.”

Ellen Ochoa Elementary found a way with its after school programs. They’re using partnerships, and a grant from the State Department of Education, to create project-based learning programs that will keep students excited to learn. They include activities from basketball to violin club.

“So, we do a lot of self-selection," Long said. "Students may want to learn about mammals. So we embed reading and writing and math through that content that they’re interested in learning.”

Ellen Ochoa will host three sessions of its programming, each lasting about nine weeks. The first session currently has about 350 students enrolled. They hope to increase that to 600 by January.

Meanwhile, Tulsa Public Schools is also tackling extended learning for students.

“We’re seeing hard-working teachers, we’re seeing students who are eager to figure out what they need to do in order to get caught up," said Dr. Ebony Johnson, Tulsa Public Schools Chief Learning Officer.

But helping students is about more than their grades.

“We have a gap around students' social and emotional and behavioral needs," Johnson said. “So, we’re seeing some areas there that we’re having to take steps back and redirect and support. And that directly also affects their academic need.”

When it comes to academics, TPS is offering after school tutoring services. They’re also creating literacy support programs for students in all grades. They're trying to bridge the gaps and help students succeed

“The schedule of how we do work in the day has changed a bit," Johnson said. "Because we are ensuring that across the board all of our students get an intervention opportunity.”

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