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Hold Up, There’s A New Bear at School?


Learning lapse continues to be a big concern around the nation and here in the DMV.

Reports from the group Empower K show students have lost four months of learning in math and one month of learning in reading. Those numbers increased significantly for students in under-resourced communities. 

According to research by the same report, under-resourced students have lost five months of learning in math and four months of learning in reading. This is from the most recent report during the fall.

Now, many nonprofits are busy trying to tighten the learning gap and help students who may have fallen behind.

We know that the loss of instructional time has had an impact. However, for the young people that we’ve been working with for the last decade, they were already behind pre-pandemic and we know that they are even further behind, said Shukurat Adamoh-Faniyan, the Executive Director of Reading Partners D.C.

Adamoh-Faniyan said Reading Partners D.C. is working with nearly all elementary school students in D.C. schools this year. The nonprofit is working with area schools and helping provide one on one tutoring for students.

They have been identified by the school as young people who are behind anywhere from six months to two years behind. What we do is we recruit community volunteers who care deeply about literacy and want to engage, said Shukurat Adamoh-Faniyan.

In an effort to reach additional students, Reading Partners D.C. launched a new virtual platform where they could continue to work with students and offer additional support.

In cases where in-person tutoring is not possible, Adamoh-Faniyan said Reading Partners Connects will allow volunteer tutors to work remotely with individual students in real-time. 

We are looking forward to this year is being able to get back to schools using our brand new virtual platform that we launched that last school year, said Shukurat Adamoh-Faniyan.

Reading Partners D.C. is now looking for volunteers to help them reach more students across the District.

We need volunteers. One of the things that have come out of all of this is certainly understanding the depth of the need and Reading Partners D.C. is here to be able to answer the call, said Shukurat Adamoh-Faniyan.

Each year, Reading Partners publishes reports highlighting student performance for the national organization and for each of its respective regions across the country. The Impact and Innovation reports for the – school year have recently been posted on reading partners and include the following highlights.

students at partner schools were matched with community volunteers who delivered a total tutoring session over the course of the year. Facing historic educational disruptions, % of K- Reading Partners students and % of all Reading Partners students met or exceeded their primary literacy growth goal. Despite the heavy shift to an online tutoring platform, and because volunteers received collective, hours of training last year including many new focus areas such as trauma-informed care, % of volunteers were satisfied with their experience. A recent DC Public Schools informal evaluation found that students who participated in Reading Partners in – scored % higher on their DIBELS Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills test scores than their peers who did not participate in the Reading Partners program.

Correction: A previous version of this story had incorrect numbers for the number of students and schools Reading Partners D.C. is working within. Those numbers have been updated.