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Donna ISD planning for voluntary summer workshops to help students recover from learning loss

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DONNA, Texas (KVEO) — As the final grading period of the school year approaches, Donna Independent School District is finalizing its plans for summer workshops to help students who have fallen behind due to the circumstances of the past year. 

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About 25% of the students have returned to their classrooms, a figure Superintendent Dr. Hafedh Azaiez says is growing week by week. 

“We feel like our students and parents feel more comfortable sending their students on-site, which is great,” Dr. Azaiez said. 

Dr. Azaiz said he is glad to see students back on campus because the past year of virtual learning has taken a toll on their grades. 

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“Because of the learning gap that happened because of COVID, our students really need to come back with us,” he said. 

To help those who have fallen behind, the district is planning summer workshops. Though not mandatory, Dr. Azaiez says he hopes families will take advantage of the opportunity. 

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“(They’ll be) focusing on literacy but also math for our kinder all the way to eighth grade, and for high school working, really, on credit recovery — ensuring our high school students are on track to graduate,” he said. 

The plan entails a four-day week with five to six hours of instruction and no more than 15 students per instructor.  

As the semester nears an end, they’re in the process of finalizing the data over which students could benefit. 

“What we’re doing is sharing that information with our principals at our campuses,” he said. “They’re going to turn around and share it with our parents, and we’re going to obviously encourage them to send their students.” 

Another goal for the workshops is to help students feel more comfortable with traditional instruction after all these months at home, which is why they’re also planning for separate extracurricular camps — like robotics — that students who maintained their grades can attend. 

“We’re hoping this summer program will help, again with the learning loss, but also to try to engage and transition our students back to hopefully some type of normalcy,” Dr. Azaiez said. 

The tentative starting date is June 21, the week following the end of the semester. The same safety measures in their classrooms now will remain. 

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