Learning loss remains top concern, school districts share call-to-action

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EDINBURG, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Last school year, because of the pandemic, students faced major learning losses and many fell behind.

“It took a toll when they had to learn at home with virtual, then being in the classroom and being able to ask questions,” said David Mendiola, a parent who says his children fell behind in their classes last year.

Educators said the learning loss didn’t just affect students locally but across Texas.

“It was very evident in the data that we received at the end of the year when they completed their STAAR test. So, we obviously do know based on that that we have a lot of learning gaps to close,” said Olga Balderas, a 3rd grade teacher, Crawford Elementary in Edinburg.

Parents and teachers said virtual learning was the main cause of students’ learning loss. Balderas said progress is being made now that they are back in school with face-to-face instruction. 

“Having our students in the classroom is by far where our students need to be, having that interaction with them, the social interaction, and the hands-on experience with their learning,” said Balderas.

Schools are working to close the learning gap by being hands-on and keeping track of their students’ progress.

“The students are provided with a folder and so what that is, is a folder that is very prescriptive to the student and it lets us know when they take their weekly test, district bench press assessment, exactly what area they are lacking and what student standard we need to specifically address,” said Denise Vega, Principal at Crawford Elementary.

Edinburg CISD Superintendent Mario Salinas said those benchmark tests allow them to see what schools and students are needing the most help.

“There are significant improvements across the board but it’s going to be a year-long effort to close the gaps but we see significant improvements already,” he said.

Salinas added they are also offering tutoring to students who are still falling behind to help them get back on track, but he is optimistic they will be ready for the STAAR test next year.

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