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Pandemic learning has children lagging behind: 'I have a student who doesn’t know how to spell his last name'

Posted at 5:27 AM, Feb 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-11 07:58:35-05

KENOSHA, Wis. — In our Two America’s series, we look at how the pandemic has put a strain on our state of education.

From Milwaukee to Kenosha, we are hearing many second graders are having a hard time even writing their own name.

We spoke with parents and educators on how they are getting children caught up.

From Kenosha Public Schools, to Sharp Literacy in Milwaukee, we are hearing how our students are falling behind because of virtual learning.

Curtis Strange Elementary teacher Lisa Webb says, “I have a student who doesn’t know how to spell his last name, so he always needs to look at his desk to make sure.”

CEO of Sharp Literacy, Inc. Lynda Kohler said, “Even the little ones, even the first graders using scissors, they haven’t been in class for two years.”

Starting last month, Kenosha Public Schools created a ‘Power Hour’ after-school program, mainly for first through third graders.


Mother Demetria Harris says it's been a huge help for her 10-year-old son Jaleel and 8-year-old daughter Julia. “It’s given them time to learn a little bit better or get that extra help," said Harris.

“I get to learn more about science and everything else, and I get to learn more about multiplications, subtraction," said Jaleel.

Kenosha teacher Monica Gombar uses her ‘Power Hour’ to get her students at Curtis Strange Elementary actively involved in learning. “Sometimes at the beginning of the class, I'll say let's count back from 135 to 35 by 10s and then you can watch them all think. I feel like we're really really digging in on math!” she says.


Back in Milwaukee, Sharp Literacy’s CEO Lynda Kohler says the need for their hands-on programs has only grown during this pandemic. They are now in 49 schools — up 14 from where they were before. This includes schools in Milwaukee and Waukesha counties.

“We’re adding workshops so the students can get caught up. Last year they really lost a year and all of the sudden you’re getting into third grade and they're not familiar at all with the STEAM concepts,”said Kohler.

Because every child, regardless of where they live, deserves the best education possible.

“It's just a joy to see those lights go on. That's one of another million reasons that I wanted to teach," said Gombar.

Webb agrees. “That’s my job. It’s my purpose in life.”

Click here to learn more about Sharp Literacy, Inc.


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