Wildfire-affected schools consider summer program expansion to cover instructional loss
- Schools in Sonoma County that had to close during the northern California wildfires don’t have to make up the missed days after receiving a waiver from the state, but some districts are thinking of ways to help students get additional instruction over the summer, The Press Democrat reports.
- The Santa Rosa City Schools, for example, plans to work with Sonoma State University and a career and technical education organization to provide summer learning programs for students in K-12, and the Piner-Olivet Union School District is seeking about $100,000 to support a two-week summer program.
- The president of the Santa Rosa Teachers Association said that, since students returned to school a few weeks ago, educators have been modifying the curriculum and assigning less work in order to focus on the essential information students need to meet the standards.
Floods, hurricanes and fires this year have forced schools across the country to not only make adjustments in the curriculum, but to respond to the social-emotional and academic needs of students and families that have lost their homes and maybe even friends and family members.
Past research on the effects of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 showed ongoing effects among the 200,000 students that were displaced, such as being behind in school and being more likely to have “symptoms consistent with serious emotional disturbance” than students who didn’t live through a natural disaster. Strategies such as tutoring, mentoring programs and trauma-focused interventions can address both the academic and emotional issues that might be affecting students who have lived through such experiences.
Establishing partnerships with community agencies can help schools and districts better ensure access to resources for counseling, tutoring, or items for basic needs, such as food and clothing, when disasters do occur.
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