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Chico Unified looks to combat learning loss

As more students struggle with learning amid pandemic changes and restrictions, one local district has a new plan to get them back on track.

Posted: Feb 18, 2021 7:40 PM

CHICO, Calif. - Parents and students can expect many options to choose from to help mitigate learning loss. 

Stephanie Cunniff is a teacher at Neal Dow elementary. She said she's experienced learning loss firsthand.

"You know, I am a parent myself and I have seen the learning loss within my own student,” Cunniff said. “That is just what is going to happen when the kids haven't been in school for five months."

Cunniff was at Wednesday night’s board meeting to discuss what Neal Dow Elementary is doing to help students.

"Our teachers here at Neal Dow are really excited to offer small group instruction in the form of tutoring to some of our students who were below benchmark,” said Cunniff.

The district is also adding a component to each student's laptop that allows a student to schedule a counseling session.

"Some of our counselors are doing extended counseling groups,” director of Elementary Education, Ted Sullivan said. “Like tutoring for academics they are offering groups before and after those sessions also."


Even community members are pitching in.

"One of the things the elementary is doing is called the reading pal's program so if you think of community volunteers come in once a week and they sit with a student that they work with for one year and with the volunteer we put a little scripted reading lesson together for them and they do it with the kids over and over again,“ Sullivan said.

As for Cuniff, she said she has already seen improvement in students from just three weeks of tutoring.

"Qualitatively just from observing the kids, we can see that some of these kids are really starting to take off especially it is a lot easier to see it in our lower grades,” Cunniff said.

Cuniff said all but two teachers are volunteering to teach one tutoring group at Neal Dow elementary.

Chico Unified said some schools are also offering tutoring in between the AM/PM constructional components of the day.

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Thankfully, the wind is cooperating much better today in northern California. Our weather is still quite hot for this time of year and very dry. There is plenty of haze and smoke from the Fawn Fire overhead, and it isn't leaving yet.
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