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Dear Academic Approach Families and Colleagues:

We know that focusing first on having students engaged in their own well-being is essential to giving them the brain space to focus on academic growth. Today, we’re digging further into the challenge and opportunities for students in academics, specifically math.

The Challenge: COVID Slide
Many parents and schools are growing increasingly concerned about the impact of learning loss this spring and summer. School districts have had varying levels of success engaging students, with many reporting low attendance and engagement with remote learning. These challenges are exacerbated by inequities in access to remote learning, including devices and connectivity concerns for low-opportunity students. In addition, many schools and districts are forgoing traditional grading and retention policies–meaning students will be moving into the next grade in the fall, regardless of their end of year progress. The increased time out of school has led to research predicting increased losses in foundational skills for students returning in the fall, which they are calling “COVID slide.” Current research predicts students may retain only 50% of the gains they made in math this year. Moreover, math–especially high-school level math–may be content parents are least comfortable in teaching and supporting their children.

The Opportunity
Teachers know this challenge is coming–and many of our nation’s excellent teachers will be working hard over the summer to prepare for just this situation. In addition, the time off gives our students the opportunity to really engage in meaningful inquiry into topics that interest them; outside of the traditional school structure, they may choose to treat this time as an opportunity for independent study into the abundant learning resources available online. We’re developing new, personalized math courses to support our students in maintaining and deepening their math knowledge to prepare for the next school year. We’ll be sharing more details on these courses tomorrow.

Be well,
Matthew Pietrafetta, Ph.D., Founder & CEO

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