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Draper Journal

Draper Elementary students get a boost up on academics

May 20, 2021 09:47AM ● By Julie Slama

Draper Elementary students gather after school to boost their skills in reading, math and Chinese. (Kesha Prince/Draper Elementary)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

Across the United States, studies have showed that reduced learning time during COVID-19 has likely impeded student achievement. This is especially evident in elementary school-age children as data has shown greater differences in learning during the pandemic versus a more typical year.

At Draper Elementary, the school’s faculty and staff are focusing on providing extra investments to help students boost their skills to stay on track with their studies instead of experiencing a greater drop during the upcoming summer months.

This spring, students who are invited to stay after school can invest more time on reading, math and Chinese with instruction from teachers and aides, said the school’s achievement coach Kaitlin Portzline.

“We have groups of five to seven students each day going over some of the skill gaps we identified,” she said about students who are “just about on benchmark and need an extra push.”  

These 90 students were identified from teacher observation as well as their reading, math and Chinese scores.

“Our biggest COVID slide was in Chinese and we’re going back to some of the basics to make sure they understand. We’ve also noticed as students have come back from online, some could use extra help as they adjust to in-person learning again. So far, it’s been great and a fluid process,” she said.

The after-school tutoring is structured so students come at least twice per week, with reading and math offered on different days. Chinese study varies, but the teachers work it out to best benefit student learning and success, Portzline said.

Many of the skills are taught through manipulatives or games, so it’s interactive and engaging, said Kesha Prince, the school’s educational technology coach.

“These kids will benefit from the extra time and interaction on these skills as they move forward,” she said. “We have some who just need help in one area, while others may need it in a couple. It’s been fun and rewarding for them and it will help them as they continue to keep up in their academics.”