Students at Franklin Elementary | Credit: Courtesy

Lockdown learning loss took a noticeable toll on California’s students in the 2021-2022 school year. Last year, only 47 percent of students districtwide met or exceeded the standard for English Language Arts (ELA), and only 36 percent of students met or exceeded the standard for math.

Franklin Elementary principal Casie Killgore calls young students now in the 3rd and 4th grades “COVID babies” who are struggling to catch up to grade-level standards. “We’ve been looking at every child individually,” Killgore said. “Some students came back from COVID with a lot of immaturity, so they need more social-emotional support. Some kids came back socially fine, but needed the academic support, so you couldn’t just say, ‘Everybody’s going to tutoring,’ right?”

Dos Pueblos High School (DPHS) Principal Bill Woodard and Santa Barbara High School Principal Elise Simmons have devoted resources toward supporting students’ mental wellness and encouraging students to “test their best” through friendly competition and incentives.

DPHS actually saw test scores rise in the 2021-2022 school year, sitting well above county and state averages. Woodard said they accomplished that, in part, by connecting students with trusted adults and therapists on campus.

“I think they felt a strong appreciation for how well their school welcomed them back,” Woodard said. “It was like, ‘We’re all in this together.’ ”

For the 2021-2022 school year, Santa Barbara High School was below the state and county averages for both ELA and math. But only 53-55 percent of students participated, Simmons said, which led to a 60-point penalty for not meeting the 95 percent participation requirement.

Simmons said that this year, “our community is seeing the importance of the state tests and wanting to show the state that this is what our students actually know and are able to do.” 


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