USD 501’s extended learning program working to improve academic gaps post-quarantine

Education 21st Century

TOPEKA (KSNT) – Topeka USD 501’s free extended learning program is well underway this summer, with a few new changes.

Instead of starting later on after the end of the school year, this year’s programs started just a couple of days later to get a jump on time lost during the pandemic.

Because of the pandemic, administrators said this year’s focus is more on bridging any learning gaps students may be struggling with because of time spent out of the classroom throughout 2020.

This year’s extended learning ranges from academic-focused classes like math and science to more enrichment-based like theater, music, and art.

District Superintendent Dr. Tiffany Anderson said the combination of the curriculum will help students dealing with learning loss, while also still having a fun summer.

“This year, we were in and out throughout the course of the year. There may have been three, maybe four months of full instruction in schools, so that two or three-month gap, on top of summer, just widens the academic gap.”

USD 501 Superintendent Dr. Tiffany Anderson

“Both sides are perfect opportunities for our kids to continue socializing, to continue learning, and to be able to do all the things that they may not get to do in a normal school year,” Summer Program Coordinator Kari Ritter said.

The programs are being offered for students grades pre-k through 12th, whether they’re in the 501 school district or not. They’re offering options both online and in-person through the end of July.

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