Ohio schools are launching expanded study plans to help tackle last year’s relapse

Thursday marks the deadline for schools to submit expanded learning plans to the state of Ohio after Governor Mike DeWine instructed districts to develop detailed plans to address student learning loss over the past year.

In the past 12 months, schools in Ohio and across the country have been switching between distance learning, mixed or hybrid models, and traditional face-to-face tuition. Now that many Ohio schools are back in the classroom full-time, the state hopes the plans the districts are creating will help get students back on track.

“We are definitely seeing a loss of learning in both our remote and personal students starting last spring,” said Brenda Miller, curriculum director for the Northwest Local School District.

Northwest Local Schools offered face-to-face learning throughout the school year, but the district said even these students are facing the challenges that come from the virtual end of the final year. The district, like most of Ohio, has submitted a Learning Restoration Plan to the Ohio Department of Education that sets out how to identify and address student academic, social, and emotional needs.

“But we’re definitely making plans for virtual and in-person learners to meet their learning needs over the summer and over the next few school years,” Miller said. “It’s obviously a constantly evolving plan that just gets better the more people are at the table with ideas.”

Northwest is expanding summer learning opportunities across the district and covering the cost of an eight-week experience for 300 elementary school students who are most in need. This program offers reading, math and other learning opportunities five days a week. The district is also developing programs for middle and high school students while expanding music options.

“So we have a lot,” said Miller. “Our schools will be open all summer and run at full speed. I think that’s great and we love having our children here.”

Other schools in the Greater Cincinnati area are adding summer learning this year, including Fairfield and Lakota.

The districts are also examining how the re-learning plans can better serve students over the next few years. Some of these potential changes include hiring additional staff, improving virtual learning options, and expanding pre- and post-school programs.

“Ultimately, we need children who love to learn and we want to make sure they feel part of them and are connected here in our school,” Miller said.

The Learning Restoration Plan for your Ohio school district can be found here. The state publishes the plans within 24 hours of receiving them from the district. So if a district is missing, try again in a day or so.

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