The Learning Network

CEDAR RAPIDS — The College Community School District is partnering with a national network of schools with the shared goal of re-energizing education after the pandemic.

The initiative — Learning 2025 — is through The School Superintendents Association, an organization of more than 13,000 educational leaders that advocates for equitable access to public education for all students and develops and supports school leaders.

“Schools early on in the pandemic scrambled and made monumental changes overnight,” College Community Superintendent Doug Wheeler said. “The goal is exiting the pandemic better than we entered it.”

College Community is the only school district in Iowa that is a part of Learning 2025.

The district is paying $14,000 a year to join the effort. Funds come from the general fund and the federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund, awarded to address the impact COVID-19 had on education.

The district applied for Learning 2025 because it fit within its strategic plan, particularly the goals for personalized learning and college and career readiness, Wheeler said.

Personalized learning is a learner-driven model of education to meet the different needs of students. Students may be provided choice in the instructional materials so they can learn at their own pace while continuing to meet education standards.

The district was selected over the summer to be a part of the Learning 2025 project and intends to continue with the program at least through 2022, Wheeler said.

The name — Learning 2025 — comes from a five-year vision for education as schools work through pandemic-related challenges.

Students who were in kindergarten in 2020 at the start of the pandemic are now in second grade and have only experienced education in a “pandemic mode of operation,” Wheeler said.

Other students returned to in-person learning this year after learning online for a year and a half.

Educators will continue to manage the effects of the pandemic daily, especially “delayed trauma” of students and staff whose lives were upended by the pandemic and who now face stress, fear and frustration, Wheeler said.

A consultant provided to the district through Learning 2025 is helping district officials focus on improving two aspects of its teaching: whole learner focus and no learner marginalized.

Whole learner focus is about engaging students in academics and also in social-emotional health, Wheeler said.

No learner marginalized is ensuring every student has a sense of belonging and is treated like they belong, Wheeler said.

Through Learning 2025, the district will be connected to other schools across the country doing similar work, so they can share ideas and success stories.

“It helps us be proactive in creating the environment our students and families deserve and we want to deliver,” Wheeler said. “We felt we had a lot to learn, but we also felt like we had a lot we could contribute.”

Comments: (319) 398-8411; [email protected]

Source : https://www.thegazette.com/k/college-community-joins-nationwide-network-aimed-at-re-energizing-education-after-the-pandemic/

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