by Thad Falkner, Head of School
Among the many concerns for our society during the pandemic is the effect that virtual learning will have on our children. Research shows that students in a normal year already experience a “summer slide” in knowledge retention after summer vacation. Given that, it is reasonable to be concerned that students whose school year was disrupted by a sudden, unplanned transition to virtual learning might suffer from a learning gap. Such a gap would not only have a negative impact on their ability to learn at the appropriate level when they return to school, but would also potentially affect their long-term academic success.
As a parent, educator, and citizen, I remain concerned about this for our wider community and world. However, I am thankful to report that, at Wilson, we believe we have successfully met this challenge and that our students are learning at their traditional levels this fall. For example, we evaluated our 5th and 6th grade students using a standardized test from the same publisher we use for our traditional spring standardized tests. This allowed us to reliably compare each class’s performance to their previous performance, to a standard Wilson class’s performance, as well as to national norms for other independent elementary schools. I am proud to share that not only did they not lose ground, but that both the 5th and 6th grade classes improved from their expected scores. This is an amazing testimony to the collaborative work of the Wilson community over the past few months!
So, how did we do this? I could enthusiastically speak at length on this, but I will share a few highlights for the sake of brevity.
Finally, I can’t help but think that our commitment to excellence and growth, which stretches back more than a century, fostered the resilience needed to navigate such a difficult time with such success. I am grateful to have been a part of that, and I hope you are, too.
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