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Flexibility the key to getting students caught up

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Just when students were starting to get back into the groove of school, another winter storm closed classes in 38 counties Monday.

Clayton Burch, the executive director of the Office of Early Education for the West Virginia Department of Education, said this has been a rough winter with kids out of class for weeks at a time.

School days are the exception rather than the norm for the past month in West Virginia.

“Being off school for a month and not having a consistent routine, that, in of itself, is a challenge for students,” explained Burch.

He said that presents a challenge to teachers who are gung ho to try and get those students learning new lessons but have to go back and do some refresher courses before they move ahead.

Burch said teachers are asking themselves, “‘We just had a large break. We had something unforeseen. I’ve got to really think about where the children are, where I’m trying to get them and how do I now prioritize my instruction to get them there.'”

That has to be based on each individual classroom according to Burch because it all comes down to the children and their learning abilities.

“I think you continually have contingency plans and I think it does require some professional educators to say, ‘I can’t be so rigid in hitting this lesson this week and this day,'” said Burch.

Until students get back into a regular routine of school five-days a week, Burch believes it will be difficult to balance that line between moving forward with lessons while making sure students remember what they learned prior to those missed days. He said flexibility is a must.

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