Rio Americano teachers have voted to add a 30 minute period within the school day to address learning loss from Covid-19.
The additional period will be created by shortening existing periods by five-six minutes. There will be no additional period on shortened Thursdays. The school leadership team–consisting of elected teachers and counselors and the principal–will create a plan for when the period will be and how it will work.
One proposal would create a 30-minute class in which students would attend each of their six classes in rotation. Thus a student would attend their first-period class on Monday, their second on Tuesday, and so on until they return to their first-period class the following Wednesday.
Another proposal would allow students to sign up for the class in which they need extra tutoring or to complete makeup work, with a cap on sign-ups equal to normal attendance. Most likely times for the class would be at the end of second period or before lunch.
History teacher William Taylor, a member of the leadership team, said the new period could be used to address academic as well as emotional needs after a year of zoom classes and minimal contact with teachers and classmates.
“The intent is to help students with lost learning during Covid when they were shut down,” Taylor said. “From one class to another, it might be extra time, extra help, it could be a time where students get to know their students better. It’s just a way to try and build community and academic support.”
The period is part of an agreement between the district and the San Juan Teachers Association. It will be funded with a one-time federal grant to address learning loss. Teachers will receive an additional $3,000 to teach the class next year. They can vote to continue the class in 2021-2022 for a $1,500 stipend.
“If students and teachers implement the program and students can benefit from it in any way, then I think it would be beneficial,” Taylor said. “Whether it’s better connection with the school, help with academics, or just getting ahead or catching up from what you lost, hopefully it will help.”