State superintendent of public instruction Tony Thurmond hosted the first in a series of virtual webinars on Oct. 11 to update local educational agencies and classroom educators on learning acceleration and ways schools are using billions of dollars in state funding to successfully address the learning loss from the pandemic. He was joined by experts Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond, California State Board of Education President, Cheryl Cotton, deputy superintendent of the California Department of Education’s Instruction, Measurement, and Instruction Branch, Dr. Michelle Magyar, executive advisor of the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence; and Dr. Ingrid Roberson, assistant director of research and learning at CCEE.
“The entire nation has been through a very difficult time, and our students have experienced many challenges. We want to make sure we are caring for their wellbeing, and our state has provided incredible resources to provide mental health support to our students,” Thurmond said. “While our young people have experienced many challenges, we look forward to helping them heal, recover and thrive. This is intended to be one of many conversations we will have, while keeping in mind that we are all in this together.”
The webinar was an opportunity to hear about proven strategies to promote learning recovery, including high-dose tutoring, expanding the school year, mental health and counseling services, and using new data to guide instruction to students. The start of a new school year marks a time of opportunity for California schools. The new state budget includes $7.9 billion for learning recovery.
“Part of the key to effective expanded learning is that we have to take both the socio-emotional and the academic into account together,” Darling-Hammond said. “We also have to break up traditional factory-model structure schools to find the ways in which we can make the time for the work that needs to go on for kids to both get motivated and get the opportunity to build on their skills.”
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