Academy School District 20 implements new programs to help students who fell behind during COVID-19 pandemic

Posted at 6:04 PM, Jan 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-21 20:14:08-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — Teachers and parents raising concerns over the number of children falling behind due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Academy School District 20 tells News 5 there's been a significant increase in failures, but they're implementing new programs to help them rebound.

"On a typical year we have about 300 first semester failures, and this semester we had 500. So it's a pretty significant increase in failures and we've been trying to figure out what those F's mean because every student has a story," said Dan Olson, Principal, Air Academy High School.

The district is still figuring out the exact reasons behind students falling behind, but remote learning a contributing factor.

"We're looking at the students that totally disengaged with the online learning or the hybrid learning, and that's one group of kids. Those students that didn't engage at all may need to retake an entire course, they may need to take multiple courses because they just didn't engage in that online process," said Olson.

Some students also impacted by the lack of internet connectivity and access to devices.

"Maybe those F's have to do with those types of reasons. What we're doing with those kiddos is we're looking at doing some type of credit recovery. Whether it's this semester or during the summer, we're trying to plan a summer program and we're going to call it our Air Academy Bootcamp," said Olson.

To help students stay on track, the district also providing office hours and targeted interventions on Wednesdays as well as more in-person instruction for students in special education.

For those who may need extra assistance following the first semester, or are demonstrating a need for further interventions, schools are working on possible after school learning opportunities.

"Students who had smaller gaps, each school is looking at dealing with them a little differently. For example, Rampart High School, they are doing some tutoring sessions in the afternoon to make up those gaps. We're having some tutoring on our Wednesdays which is a flex day," said Olson.

With the pandemic expected to impact the graduating class of 2021, the district has begun developing a plan to ensure students get back on track and recover credits toward graduation.