ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) – Learning to read unlocks the door to millions of opportunities.
But millions of young students across Georgia have fallen behind academically as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Sawyer Road Elementary School teacher, Kristin Lincoln, has seen it firsthand.
“We’ve seen a huge difference in kids coming to us in second grade from what we’ve seen in previous years. They just don’t have the basic phonics skills that they used to,” Lincoln said.
After a few years of virtual learning and masked instruction, Marietta Schools leaders noticed the learning loss happening across their district, largely in grades 1 through 5.
“I think all of us saw our numbers and they were not good. We came together and decided we needed to do something immediately,” Marietta School Board member, Jaillene Hunter, said.
At the end of January, the board passed a 7 million-dollar investment of federal funding into literacy and learning loss recovery for all elementary schools in their system, which includes hiring 40 new full-time reading specialists that will create a 1 to 10 student-teacher ratio for tailored instruction.
“What they’re going to do is pull students out of their classroom. This is first through fifth-grade students who are not reading on grade level. So the students who need the help the most are going to receive the help,” Hunter said.
Hunter, who represents Ward 4 in Marietta, says the goal is simple. To help equip every child with the language and literacy skills they need for a prosperous future.
“The investment that they’re making with this, in giving to our teachers and to us, is just helping us set our kids up for success and hopefully fill a lot of those gaps that we saw during the pandemic,” Lincoln said.
The 7-million-dollar investment also includes a one-time 5,000-dollar supplement to all credentialed teachers and coaches providing direct reading instruction.
MCS will hold a virtual educator showcase to further explain its commitment to literacy and opportunities for current and future educators. An in-person job fair will also be hosted specifically for educators who desire to be reading specialists in Marietta City Schools.
WHAT: Virtual Educator Showcase
WHEN: Thursday, February 2, 2023, 8:00 pm
WHAT: Reading Specialist Job Fair
WHEN: Monday, February 6, 2023, 6:30-7:30 pm
WHERE: Park Street Elementary, 105 Park Street SE, Marietta