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Back to School: Mitigating pandemic learning loss

The CEO of Sylvan Learning discusses ways to mitigate pandemic-related learning setbacks.

As kids head back to school, one of the things teachers are dealing with is learning loss. Many students fell behind during the COVID-19 pandemic, and some are struggling to catch up. Rick Rusthoven, the CEO of Sylvan Learning in West Michigan, has some tips.

“There was a nationwide, unfinished learning study that was released, and this study estimates that school closures, the virtual learning environment, and other COVID-related setbacks have put students behind four to 12 months,” Rusthoven said. “That's a multi-year effort to catch up.”

Some students are being held back. Others are advancing to the next grade, but they’re not prepared. Both are major issues. And while it may be difficult to mitigate learning loss, it’s not impossible. One of the things Rusthoven recommends is an academic checkup.

“The Sylvan assessment offers an in-depth look at exactly where the student is academically at the grade level and compares it to their peers,” he said. “It identifies the child's unique strengths but also identifies gaps that they have in math, reading, writing, and other subjects. It's completed online or in person, and it's really the tool that the parents can use to evaluate and understand where their child is at, so they can make a better decision in the future. It's a game changer for many parents.”

If it turns out your child is struggling with a certain subject, don’t hesitate to get them help. A little bit of tutoring now might make a world of difference in the future.

“Everything that we do is personalized to exactly what that student needs,” Rusthoven said. “So we're not going through information that the student has already learned. We are working on only the gaps that the student needs. We also understand that results matter. So our study, our approach has been assessed, and it is extremely effective. And we can move much faster than the schools, because we're working with a three-to-one ratio tutoring perspective.

Some ways to start off the new school year strong: help students get into a regular bedtime routine. Nutrition is also a key factor when it comes to academic performance, so make sure students are following a healthy, well-balanced diet. And finally, create a family calendar. This promotes time management and let’s everyone know when assignments are due.

To learn more about Sylvan Learning, CLICK HERE.

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