Deputy State Superintendent Michael Thompson says the school system in Wisconsin is still adjusting to the “biggest disruption we’ve had that I can ever remember in education which is the pandemic.”
As a guest on WTMJ 2021, Thompson says one of the biggest challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic is the amount of money that districts need to spend in order to keep staff and students safe.
“Everything from the personal protection equipment that school districts need to sanitizing the building to providing different types of learning spaces for kids to being able to feed kids in a different type of environment than they’ve fed kids in the past… all of those have come above cost. Including training of teachers to be able to move to a different instructional model that they maybe didn’t have a lot of training for in the past,” Thompson said.
“This was not a money saving venture for schools. It was a cost venture.”
Thompson says there is also an extra burden being placed on teachers who need to help get kids back up to speed with their learning.
“We really need to accelerate learning for kids who have been involved in this disruption. And that means really closely looking at priority instructional content in the core areas that kids need to know to advance on. We have to accelerate their learning and in essence go all the way back and try to re-teach content that they may have lost because of this disruption,” Thompson said.
Thompson says there is a focus on making sure that kids receive the same level of education that they need, regardless of where they’re learning.
“We are not able to replicate to the degree that it was for all kids back in last February when kids were in contact with teachers and there’s that one one one contact. A lot of kids need that. They thrive better in those environments,” Thompson said.
“There is a realization that a lot of kids thrive with that one-on-one interpersonal contact. We all want to get back to it, we all want this pandemic to go away, but it hasn’t. We’re going to do our best to do that but there is a recognition of those kids and schools are trying to find alternative ways to make sure those kids stay connected and they have that relationship with this significant adult in the school system. That’s critical,” Thompson said.
Deputy State Superintendent Michael Thompson was a guest on WTMJ 2021.