Oregon and Washington plan to address unfinished student learning


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Educators Focus On Laser To Advance Their Students’ Learning

PORTLAND, Oregon (KOIN) – After an unprecedented year of distance learning, schools in Oregon and Washington are planning how to respond to unfinished student learning this coming year.


The Oregon Department of Education has a plan for how they’ll pick up where the pandemic left off. The ODE says they advise teachers to start with what students can do, listen to their stories and meet them where they are at. Teachers will then be able to determine what students are ready to learn next.

Student learning: unfinished, not lost

ODE offers to know the state of the student’s learning by gathering work, in particular:

  • Empathy interviews with families and students
  • Intermediate evaluations
  • Performance tasks
  • Formative evaluation
  • Project presentations and designs
  • Conferences led by students
  • Student self-reflections
  • Universal sifters
  • Curriculum-based assessments
  • Student portfolios, including illustrations

This list shows that the ODE plans to take a very holistic approach to understanding student development in the past year. The department told KOIN 6 News that this type of approach is more comprehensive than a single test.

Not only does this approach to unfinished learning enlighten teaching, but they say it also builds relationships between students and teachers, which they know kids need right now.


Meanwhile, the Washington Office of the Superintendents of Public Instruction also has a plan for how they’ll pick up learning where the pandemic left off.

Education officials in Washington say this is an opportunity for schools to improve, but now is not the time to “get back to normal.” Educators have learned from distance and hybrid learning due to the pandemic. Teachers were able to identify student needs and adapt to make meaningful and lasting progress to meet the needs of each student.

The general direction in Washington is for districts to use academic and wellness screening tools for each student to determine the types of support they will need when they return to the buildings full-time. Officials say many districts were already using these practices before the pandemic and know how to expand and expand student support as needed.

Educators in Washington are also planning to specifically address the academic learning and welfare needs of students, as well as groups of students affected by COVID-19, on an equity basis.

Washington Student and Student Well-Being Recovery Plan

The interactive process uses a three-phase planning approach with strategies designed to help schools think through immediate needs and plan longer-term learning goals. These phases, according to the Washington OSPI, are listed as follows:

  • Phase 1 – June 2021: LEA’s initial plan for school and student well-being recovery and acceleration strategies to be implemented for summer and early fall 2021.
  • Phase 2 – November 2021: Review and analyze student data from Phase 1 strategies / interventions implemented for each identified student group. Reflect and build on learning. Adjust and begin long-term planning of recovery and acceleration strategies / interventions for implementation over the winter and throughout the 2021-2022 school year. Continue to collect data.
  • Phase 3 – April 2022: Continue the cycle of improving the strategies / interventions implemented in Phases 1 and 2 by reviewing and analyzing the data collected to inform next steps and commit to long-term sustained strategies for the next school year and beyond (2022–23 +) (eg on a balanced schedule, implementing standards-based scoring or project-based learning).

It will be a work in progress for both states – but educators are focused on the laser moving forward.


Norma A. Roth