Whitmer lays out roadmap for schools to recover from COVID-19 and better serve students

MI Blueprint for Comprehensive Student Recovery.
MI Blueprint for Comprehensive Student Recovery.(source: WJRT)
Updated: May. 19, 2021 at 12:36 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - Gov. Gretchen Whitmer unveiled a new plan for schools to continue recovering from the coronavirus pandemic and better serve students in the next school year.

Whitmer released the 40-page MI Blueprint for Comprehensive Student Recovery on Wednesday. The report from the Student Recovery Advisory Council offers advice for schools to overcome learning loss, restore their culture and address wellness issues.

“It will not only help local education leaders comprehensively address immediate challenges, but it will also move us towards an education system that works better for all of our children,” Whitmer said.

The report outlines a number of challenges that schools are facing and offers recommendations for how to improve. None of the recommendations are mandated, however.

The challenges outlined in the report include:

  • Student mental health issues.
  • Students missing wellness visits and immunizations.
  • A decrease of physical activity.
  • Burnout and morale problems among educators.
  • Students experiencing learning gaps over the past year.
  • Students who entirely left school during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Inequities that minority students face.
  • Strained relationships between schools and their communities.
  • Lack of afterschool activities.
  • Limited access to college, trade schools, careers or national service.

The report calls for comprehensive of assessments of students’ academic achievement based on testing and teachers’ observations. Schools are advised to establish programs that help students achieve a year of learning by January 2022.

Students are remain way behind on learning should be offered double-dose courses, tutoring, small group learning and individual instruction to help them catch up, according to the report.

It also calls for a major change in how Michigan funds schools by basing their per-pupil allowance on prior year’s enrollments, so drops in student counts don’t cause major budget upheaval during the school year.

Other recommendations include methods for attracting more educators of color, innovations for the next generation of education and universal free preschool for all children.

The report notes that schools should offer options for students to continue learning remotely for the foreseeable future.

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