By Nancy Richardson, Contributor

The following is a conversation with Meagan Roy, Director of Special Services and Jeff Evans, Director of Learning and Innovation for the Champlain Valley School District (CVSD).

Jeff Evans and Megan Roy described in detail the efforts of CVSD staff and teachers to examine the learning effects of the pandemic on student achievement.  Beginning in the spring of 2020, all school districts in Vermont were required to conduct needs assessments and develop remediation plans in areas of possible learning loss.

A Common Assessment system developed by the Champlain Valley School District was used to assess both academic and emotional learning areas. The hybrid and remote programs that had been initiated succeeded in keeping most student learning generally on track. An intense effort had been undertaken to surround special education students with services during the pandemic year, and that effort was also responsible for progress on students’ Individual Education Plans. However, a small number of students with intense needs, and others who struggled in the regular curricula, experienced a “heightened disruption in their learning.” According to Meagan Roy, these students are receiving additional remediation services.

One area of instruction in which learning losses did occur was in middle grade mathematics. A revised math assessment and diagnostic system, which provides teachers with more specific remediation methods, has been introduced. Further resources have also been directed at this area.  They include redeployment of teachers, classroom support, and professional development.

Both CVSD administrators stressed the importance of the multi-tiered system of intervention that had been in place for many years prior to the pandemic.  This system requires continuing learning assessments and immediate intervention in cases of academic loss.  A new system did not have to be designed or implemented in response to the pandemic.  The existing assessment and remediation initiative, however, does rely on staff resources.

Meagan Roy noted that the district is “thinly staffed,” and Jeff Evans commended both teachers and administrative staff for working long hours. Asked if they are looking for retired teachers or others to help in this effort, both responded with a resounding “yes!”

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