Superintendents from across the state say student growth, academic performance and enrollment have declined among all grade levels since the start of the COVID pandemic while students moving or withdrawing from school has increased.
In the spring of 2020, COVID-19 disrupted the education system, shutting down all in-person classes for some time.
COVID-19 continues to expose inequities in our education system especially in rural communities like Yuma.
Student achievement in both math and ELA was significantly impacted and English learners struggled more than their English-proficient peers.
The Yuma Elementary School District #1 Superintendent says when the pandemic hit, every student in the district, of nearly nine-thousand, was supplied with a tablet to take home.
However, he says it was still a difficult time for students and teachers to learn virtually.
“It was equivalent to a catastrophic event educationally, and when you think of any catastrophic event, the sun doesn’t just come out the next day after a hurricane or a huge storm and all of a sudden everything is back where it was. It takes time, it takes dedication, it takes strategies to slowly rebuild,” said Superintendent Jamie Sheldahl.
Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction, Kathy Hoffman, says the first course of action is to understand the impact of the pandemic on students, teachers, families, schools, and communities.
“Building that relationship too with the students after thinking about the trauma that our students have experienced and all the disruptions, we want to make sure that they have consistency and build that relationship with teachers to help support their learning,” said Hoffman.
As Monday marks the first day of classes for school District #1, superintendent Sheldahl says his plan for this year is to take it day by day.
“I just think we need to get kids back to school, that’s one thing that’s going to make a huge difference, if every student is at school every single day. So I think, just one day at a time is going to be the mantra for this year,” said Sheldahl.