Combatting learning loss caused by COVID pandemic

The past year has been like no other for education.

Video Transcript

- Some of you have some questions today.

SARAH SCHULTE: Remote--

- Does anyone know what kind of story this is?

SARAH SCHULTE: --in-perso--

- If you need me, I got ya.

SARAH SCHULTE: --or a little bit of both. This past year has been like no other for education. While school districts were consumed with plans to teach safely, their next big challenge is making up for lost time, or what Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson calls "unfinished learning."

JANICE JACKSON: We're going to be using a large share of our stimulus dollars and CARES funding for unfinished learning. And so, you'll be hearing more about that in the coming weeks.

SARAH SCHULTE: Jackson says CPS is working on a plan that will include providing tutors for students and other resources to help make up the gap.

JANICE JACKSON: Each individual school will be given the dollars and support to create their own plan to address their unique student population.

SARAH SCHULTE: From a district with 660 schools to one of the area's smallest, Union Ridge School District 86; a one-school district in Hollywood Heights with a low-income population, where English as a second language for many students.

- Come back! We want you back!

SARAH SCHULTE: Superintendent Michael Maguire says making up for learning loss is part of the focus.

MICHAEL MAGUIRE: For us to be successful with these students, it's to make sure that we're listening to them.

SARAH SCHULTE: Addressing students social and emotional needs is a big part of the district's comeback plan.

JOE KERKE: Whether it be teaching about feelings, teaching coping skills to our middle schoolers, we're teaching activities on the signs of suicide.

SARAH SCHULTE: While school districts big and small figure out ways to make up for academic and emotional loss, superintendents admit there have been positives that have resulted from the past year.

Technology being the biggest. Every CPS student is now equipped with a device and internet access for the next four years.

JANICE JACKSON: One thing that we have been able to see is that by offering meeting opportunities virtually, you actually see more attendance.

SARAH SCHULTE: And some parents say technology has forced them to be more involved than ever.

SABRINA JACKSON: You have a lot more parents sitting there with their kids, engaging also in their studies.

SARAH SCHULTE: With innovation and resiliency, school communities are confident students will bounce back from this past year quickly.

Sarah Schulte, ABC 7 Eyewitness News.