TWIN FALLS, Idaho — School is back in session now for the Twin Falls School District, but education experts say we're still dealing with the impacts from school closures this spring.
"Where they ended in March and where they came in after the 5-month closure, we are noticing some gaps," explained Michelle Larson, the instructional coach for both Sawtooth and Pillar Falls' elementary schools. "There's definitely some pieces and parts--especially certain grade levels that were hit harder than others."
Larson says first and second graders were impacted the most because they missed out on valuable phonics skills. Phonics is a method of teaching young children to read by associating sounds with letters or groups of letters--and its challenging to teach and learn via devices.
Larson says other grades were impacted as well.
"In all of our grade levels, as far as reading, kids are missing some fluency, and that repeated practice of those skills," Larson said.
Between online and in person learning, teachers have a lot on their plates. That's why the coaches are encouraging collaboration as a priority this year.
"We've been encouraging for years collaboration," explained Jennifer Shipp, another instructional coach. "Work smarter not harder and get with your team to find out what everyone can contribute so not everyone is working that caseload themselves."
Through collaboration, teachers are working to fill the gaps left behind from this spring. The idea is to catch kids up, while keeping them grade level, so they don't lose any time.
We know education is cyclical, and that the concepts build on each other from year to year, so it really comes down to supplementing," said Larson.