Bullitt County asks parents, students how to address pandemic-related learning loss, mental health issues

Published: Mar. 15, 2021 at 7:46 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - When classrooms moved to computers in early 2020, many educators and scholars predicted students would suffer learning loss, and one year later, schools districts like Bullitt County Public Schools have begun to see those consequences.

“We have some data that shows our students aren’t where they would normally be this time of the year if we were in a normal school year, but they’re not as far behind as you might think, so we’re excited about that,” Dr. Jesse Bacon, BCPS Superintendent said.

Despite that, the district plans to help the students who are struggling to catch up by creating new, summer learning programs.

BCPS has asked parents for their ideas and feedback on what those learning programs should look like through an online survey.

“What we’re really trying to do is get a jump start as best we can over the summer as far as the academic piece goes, and then let students be able to take advantage of any opportunities they feel like are appropriate for them,” Bacon said.

Parents who participate in the survey also can vote on other people’s responses, which are kept anonymous.

Dozens of parents and families have taken part in the survey, and many suggested the district come up with engaging activities that get students off the computer.

Others asked BCPS to focus on students’ mental health, which is a topic already on the front of some district leaders’ minds.

“We are really trying to cater to the needs of our students by understanding that probably most of them have experienced some type of traumatic event throughout all this process,” BCPS Director of School Safety and Mental Health Sarah Smith said.

The district recently hired four licensed social workers to help students during the school year and over the summer.

Bacon told WAVE 3 News the state of students’ mental health plays a large role in their overall success.

“For students to be able to do well academically, you have to make sure their other needs are met as well,” Bacon said. “The lack of socialization; the lack of a normal school setting and school year has had an impact on these kids and we realize that, which is why it’s been so important to get them back for as many in-person days as possible,” he said. “We want to be able to provide those opportunities to have those needs addressed, and that’s really what the focus of our time over the summer is going to be.”

The parent survey will close March 15 at midnight. The district also plans to survey students this week.

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