California Educator

April/May 2021

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" T H E P A N D E M I C J U S T exposed the gaps that have always been there," says Terra Doby, a Richmond kindergarten teacher who is working in a new after-school tutoring inter- vention program for second through eighth grade. "I hope this is the beginning of the work our community and our students need." Throughout California and across the country, educators are stepping up to safely support students, their families and one another through the pandemic, working harder than ever to show that even though most classrooms are closed, the care and compassion have never stopped. Lauded as heroic during the initial months of dis- tance learning, educators' eorts have been overshadowed in recent months by grow- ing concern about the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 and widespread lack of in-person instruction for a year now. Education "experts" have expressed this in a woefully oversimplied and deciency-based term: "learning loss." Concerns about learning loss lead the nightly news today, with some politicians and parent groups weaponizing it to force teachers to return to schools before it is safe to do so. Despite this narrative, educators have been focusing on supporting their students' unique needs since the beginning of crisis distance learning. ey've been working together to make connections, meet students where they are, make sure they feel seen and heard, and help them along their academic paths. It's a part of the story that often gets left out when discuss- ing studies about learning loss that are based on assessments we don't use in California, have insucient sample sizes, or aren't representa- tive of student populations and experiences. How educators are addressing students' academic, emotional needs as pandemic enters year two Story by Julian Peeples Illustrations by Audrey Chan JoDee Bonales in her fifth grade classroom. "We're focusing on what is most important for students to be prepared for next year." Filling Gaps & Healing Hearts 22 Feature "[Intensive tutoring] empowers students. That's what keeps them coming back every day." —Terra Doby, United Teachers of Richmond‚

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