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PBTISD prepares to get students back up to speed with learning this school year after the COVID slide

PBTISD is adding about 20 intervention teachers to help students catch up with their learning.

PECOS, Texas — Excitement for school is striking in Pecos, Texas as new intervention teachers join the ranks to help get students back on track after the jolt of COVID learning.

"We know from the pandemic that students suffered a lot of learning loss. In fact TEA has reported with the state testing that took place this last spring that there was about a 4% slide from 2019 to 2021 in reading and about a 15, 18% slide in math," Brent Jaco, PBTISD superintendent said.

Pecos Barstow Toyah ISD is adding about 20 of these new intervention teachers.

"We've implemented intervention teachers and so we'll have teachers designated strictly towards intervention, so when students that we know are behind academically, we'll work to get them caught up during the school day and not during any of their other classes, but a separate class," Jaco said.

Elementary students will have a designated intervention time. For secondary students, it's a whole separate class.

"Not only are we going to be specializing by subject, but we will be looking at specific skills within those subjects, so there may be a group of students who are working on identifying main idea in reading and there may be a group of students who are working specifically on measurement or 3D shapes in their math classes," Karen Matt, chief academic officer said.

And parents are all for it.

"I think as a district, what we're doing with these interventionists is really going to help my children catch up because yes, they were doing those quick assignments every day during COVID online, but I really think that they do need that extra help and I love what the district is doing, bringing in extra people and extra help and helping those kids that lost that time during those formative years," Shanna Flores, PBTISD parent said.

In addition to new teachers, the district is starting their school days 15 minutes earlier, they're adding 28 days of instruction, tutoring and more resources for teachers to better engage their students.

"I think we're going to make great gains this year, but I do anticipate that it's going to take several years to get our students back to where they need to be," Matt said.

This week the Midland ISD school board will be discussing plans to prepare for the COVID slide as well. And over at ECISD, they're focusing on three main areas to address the COVID slide: Social, emotional learning, investing in professional development for teachers and tutoring.