OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. – The Osceola County School District launched a program to help close the academic achievement gap, which Superintendent Dr. Debra Pace said has been exacerbated by the pandemic.
“Really and truly, we’re looking at students being three to six months behind where they ordinarily would’ve been; when you talk about that, it’s a half a year of learning that has a long-term potential impact if we don’t fix the problem now,” Pace said.
She said the students hurting the most in terms of the academic achievement gap are the digital learners.
“We did see a much higher percentage of students in a digital environment with Ds and Fs first semester,” Pace said.
The district’s new program will offer help before and after school, as well as Saturday school, according to Pace. She said they also will provide transportation and snacks.
Pace said they had 523 middle and high schoolers attend the kickoff to the program on Saturday.
For the students learning digitally, Pace said teachers will offer classes in a much smaller group setting than what a normal classroom offers.
The district told News 6 they have enough teachers to help with the program and added teachers will be paid if it’s outside of their contracted school day.
In terms of the subjects, Pace said the achievement gap is most significant in math.
“Math skills have been particularly impacted, we’re looking at about a six-month deficit in the area of math in terms of where kids are,” Pace said.
Pace said what they really don’t want to see happen is students having to repeat a year.
She also said parents can still sign their children up for the program.
A parent interested in signing up their child for the program should call the child’s school.