Teachers say this school year 'unlike any other'

A little grace goes a long way for school in 2021
Posted at 8:01 AM, Aug 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-02 08:50:46-04

LAKE PARK, Fla. — School is just around the corner, and just like parents, educators have a lot on their mind and are making preparations to stay ahead of what is coming their way.

Some teachers say this year will bring challenges unlike any year before.

"I plan on being really flexible with the kids," said Alexa Wilhelm, the leader high school teacher at Coastal Middle and High School, a small school in Lake Park.

"When the kids come in assessing them, doing a diagnostic test, seeing where they are at," she said. "A lot of them, we don't know their levels."

In a normal year, Wilhelm said they have a better sense of where students are at academically, but this year, even sitting at a desk will be a change.

"The kids are used to just being at a screen, so when the kids come in, they are not used to the classroom setting," she said.

Lisa Cullom, the principal and owner at Coastal Middle and High School, said there will be a lot of juggling this year. She noted more students moving to Florida, some district students making the switch to private schools, kids repeating grades because of last year.

"This year is really the year of the unknown," she said. "Also, we don't have any state testing scores. We don't have any scores released, and we don't have a timeline. Usually, we know what level these kids are coming in."

Cullom said students may be behind and teachers have to be ready to pivot.

"There are a lot of kids that stayed behind because of COVID, virtual got them behind, so they stayed behind last year or they were behind, because last year was a disaster," she said. "So we are going to have different age groups, different levels all in the same class."

Cullom and Wilhelm agree that everyone needs to work together. Be open to more conferences and one on one time.

"Working as a team, that's the only way we are going to be able to get this school year run in general," said Wilhelm.

"Parents need to be open to the fact educators are going to do their best and we need to be open to your kid may be behind," said Cullom, who suggested brainstorming things to do together as parents and teachers.

Cullom said remember to be open to the fact that some kids will need extra help.

"It’s not that your child is behind because they didn’t do something or they are at fault," explained Cullom. "It may just be the year. Maybe the teacher didn't get to that. Maybe the online programming didn't touch on that, because its different from what happened in person for some schools."