Teachers, students working through summer to make up for lost time due to Covid

By Josh Beavers

A quick Google search about learning during the Covid pandemic will return bundles of articles negatively portraying student achievement and setbacks caused by closed campuses and frequent interruptions in learning. And while it would be easy for school officials and parents to hold out their hands in exasperation and ask departments of education to “just pass the kids,” in Webster Parish, administrators, teachers, and central office personnel care deeply about their young people and are taking extra steps to get our kids up to speed following the time lost to Covid.

“Summer Connection is an intervention program designed to provide targeted instruction based on student data,” said Dusty Rangel, who serves as curriculum and instruction supervisor for Webster Parish Schools. “Traditionally, summer school has focused on LEAP 2025 remediation. This program is geared toward addressing specific skill gaps to prepare students for the next academic year.”

Students from all over the parish are working this summer with our teachers at base schools that include Browning Elementary, North Webster High School, Lakeside High School, J. A. Phillips Elementary and Webster Jr. High. Students targeted range in grades from PreK through the eighth grade.

Rangel said Summer Connection is vital to helping Webster Parish students.

“The Covid19 pandemic created a large group of students who are unprepared for their academic future,” she told The Journal. “Our goal is to work toward narrowing some of these gaps. Much effort was put into the selection of staff and curriculum for this program. Our focus is to start where they are and bring them to where they need to be.”

Curt Allen, a 13-year-educator, teaches fifth grade English Language Arts (ELA) at The Doyline High School. He is one of the teachers working tirelessly through his summer break to help students bridge any gaps caused by Covid absences.

“This program is absolutely great for kids who missed a few skills,” Allen told us. “We are helping to close a gap very well. I have been so impressed with the work our content coaches and others have done to find just the right things that these kids needed. They chose just the right groups of kids to receive this instruction. This is important for the kids on the bubble to ‘jump’ to the next level.”

Rangel said what she has seen so far during the Summer Connection program is encouraging and a testament to the quality of young people as well as educators in the Webster Parish School System.

“We are excited about the energy and enthusiasm of the staff and students,” she told us. “Engagement is high on all of our campuses which we hope transfers into high achievement.”

Photo: Webster Parish teacher Shameka Cooper is one of the local educators working through the summer to help students make up lost time due to Covid

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