Intensive Tutoring Needed To Close The Education Gap Caused By COVID-19 Pandemic, Abell Foundation Study Says

A report last week found that failure rates have doubled or even tripled during the second semester at most​ Maryland schools amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Video Transcript

RICK RITTER: Closing the education gap in Maryland. Thanks for staying with WJZ. I'm Rick Ritter.

NICOLE BAKER: And I'm Nicole Baker. A new report is offering some key suggestions for Baltimore City schools, all to help students recover whatever education was lost during this pandemic.

RICK RITTER: And WJZ is live in Federal Hill tonight. Rachel Menitoff with more on how schools plan to address what has really become a big concern. Rachel?

RACHEL MENITOFF: Rick and Nicole, it sounds pretty simple, but this study is suggesting intensive tutoring, especially for Baltimore's youngest learners, and it details the kind of tutoring schools should be investing in over the next year.

Students falling behind in a pandemic, exacerbating the learning gap in Baltimore City schools, and beyond.

ASHLEY VALIS: The amount of remediation after a year of virtual school is going to be incredible.

RACHEL MENITOFF: A report from the state superintendent released last week shows that failure rates doubled, or even tripled, during the second semester at most Maryland schools. A study out of the Baltimore-based Abell Foundation has some ideas for Baltimore City schools. It highlights the need for intensive tutoring for 18,000 students in kindergarten through fifth grade, suggests using data to measure their progress, recruit tutors from within Baltimore's colleges and universities, and it recommends tapping into the state's newly approved Kirwan Commission, which focuses on improving K through 12 education.

STEPHANIE SAFRAN: Teachers keep teaching, the kids get some individualized one on one attention to track their progress in a skill where they had a gap, and maybe it wasn't being addressed in the classroom.

RACHEL MENITOFF: We sat down with Baltimore City schools.

JANISE LANE: Getting targeted support, and really, a regular cadence of that learning, so small high dosages that are very specific to the need.

RACHEL MENITOFF: Ashley Valis has a daughter in kindergarten in Locust Point.

ASHLEY VALIS: When you're not in the classroom five days a week, for those 9 and 1/2 months, every kid could benefit from the additional help.

RACHEL MENITOFF: And researchers estimate that this will cost anywhere from $15 to $20 million, and suggest a combination of federal, state, and local donor funding. Live in Federal Hill, I'm Rachel Menitoff for WJZ.