Adjusting Instruction to Meet Our Students’ Needs: WCHS’s Approach to Student Learning During the Pandemic

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Mrs. Shannon Russell teaching students enrolled in Math 10C Extension

As we all now know, the 2020-21 school year started with some hesitation. Having students return to school during a worldwide pandemic had many parents, students and teachers asking questions like: How will classes run? Will school be open for the year, or will online learning become the norm? What will school look like in this new world where everyone is wearing a mask and no one can get close to each other?

Looking back now, we all realize that the school year brought many challenges in the first few months. As various students and school staff had to quarantine throughout the fall months, and the school had to shut down during the month of December, teachers became concerned about the quality of teaching and learning in this new reality. While many students flourished online, some struggled. As time went on, teachers were worried that learning gaps would result.

“We knew that, because of the shut-down, some students needed further support in Mathematics,” says Math teacher, Mrs. Shannon Russell. “Some students who struggled online will now be able to work on building a better foundation in Math.” Mrs. Russell teaches Math 10C Extension which is designed to extend and increase student skills. Courses like this enable students to understand those critical curricular outcomes which will allow them to advance to the higher course streams in Mathematics.

“The Trustees of Wetaskiwin Regional Public Schools have made it clear that one of our top priorities as a School Division is to assess and address student learning gaps,” says Kris Denney, Principal of Wetaskiwin Composite High School (WCHS). “Courses like Math 10C are critical for students to complete and be successful in. This course enables students to go on to higher-level math courses, thus opening more doors to post-secondary opportunities. Those students who underachieved in the course during shut-down, will now have the chance to improve their Math marks in a class where a teacher is able to extend the learning of critical Math concepts in a more supportive environment.

As WCHS begins its second semester, students and teachers are working hard as they look forward to the spring, warmer weather, and the hope that the worst of the pandemic challenges are behind them. “We will do whatever we can to ensure students are successful in all subject areas,” says Mr. Denney. “We’ve also done extensive work with students in other courses such as English and Social Studies. Our goal is to make sure our students are successful as we finish off the school year and look to better times ahead.”

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