Fort Smith School District works to get students caught up from blended learning struggles

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FORT SMITH, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – A form of learning that became the norm during the pandemic has had consequences on some students.

Ginni Mcdonald with Fort Smith Schools said the district offered blended learning this year as a response to COVID-19, but with it came students falling behind which resulted in the need to catch up.

“As we were learning from different locations, I think there was some struggles between being able to really learn in different environments at different times,” Mcdonald said.

Mcdonald said in 2020, about 54% of students were missing a class that was needed for graduation. By December, it was about 36%.

“In the spring, those students that were maybe not successful in the fall, they returned to school,” Mcdonald said.

But, Mcdonald said they worked hard to get students caught up.

“It truly was a team effort in working with students and their parents to see exactly what may be preventing them from learning and connecting our resources to get students where they might need to be.”

By the end of the school year, Mcdonald said only 1% of seniors were not able to graduate after classes missed this year. This is a number she is pleased to see in comparison to numbers the rest of the school year and considering the hard work of her staff at Fort Smith Schools.

“To see the way that they responded to students and how students accepted that assistance and how families rallied around to help their kids… it’s an amazing time to be in education for sure.”

Mcdonald said the district is also offering summer programs to get other students caught back up from what they missed during blended learning before the 2021-2022 school year.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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