Bay District Schools students catching up after hurricane and pandemic

Bay District is holding this meeting with all board members. We plan to ask about financial priorities, teacher recruitment and learning loss during the pandemi
Published: Nov. 22, 2022 at 9:11 PM CST
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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - It was a double-whammy. Between Hurricane Michael and then the pandemic, some Bay District Schools students have yet to see a normal school year. And with that, came setbacks in learning.

“You could argue that the kids here in Bay County have had more challenges than probably any student body in the country,” Bay District Schools Board Member Steve Moss said. “In 2018, we had the hurricane. Right? And so that closed down schools. And then, of course, the pandemic a few years after closed down schools again.”

Now district leaders face a challenge of their own. How do they get students back on track and make up for those learning losses? Moss said they’re focusing on those in grades Pre-K through Third Grade.

“The statistics say that if a student is behind, before third grade, it’s very hard, if almost impossible for them to catch up and get back on reading level. And so what we’re trying to do is really concentrate on those early years,” Moss said.

The primary focus is on grammar and reading.

“So much builds on reading it’s kind of like the foundation that so much builds upon math, science,” Moss said.

Catching up isn’t always a realistic goal for a regular school day. Oftentimes, it calls for extra hours.

“We’re trying to go above and beyond a lot of that happens before school, after school, summer school, outside of the traditional classroom setting right where you’re there for a give or take 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. or whatever it might be depending on the school you go to,” Moss said.

They aren’t the only ones having to go the extra mile to catch up. The Nation’s 2022 Report Card was a wake-up call for many, with student scores plummeting to levels not seen in 20 years.

But Moss said those who put in the work, should be back up to speed in no time.

“Is it challenging? Absolutely,” Moss said. “Do I think our students can do it? Absolutely.”

According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, not a single state saw a notable improvement in its average test scores this year compared to 2019.

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