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Chronic absenteeism declines in Sonoma Valley school district

in Education

Chronic absenteeism among students in Sonoma Valley Unified School District fell by 14% in 2022-23 from the previous academic year, but it is still nearly 13% higher than the pre-pandemic level, according to newly released data.

The district’s rate fell to 25.50% in 2022-23 from 39.50% in 2021-22, on DataQuest, the California Department of Education’s web-based data system. In 2018-19, 12.8% of the district’s students were chronically absent.

Continue Reading on the Sonoma Index-Tribune

‘Tired, Exhausted and Unmotivated:’ How Sonoma’s Students Are Doing Amid Pandemic

in People

The floor of Jen Grady’s classroom at Mattie Washburn Elementary School was shaking ever so slightly.

On the plush grid of her multicolored carpet, 10 pairs of feet landed with muffled, rhythmic thuds. As the students, all first-graders, hopped, they sounded out the letter “r,” a tricky consonant for many 6- and 7-year-olds to master. But the movement, mimicking a rabbit, held a clue, Grady reminded them. “It’s a developmental thing,” she explains. “They want to say, ‘er.’”

As a reading intervention specialist who has spent 19 years at the K-2 campus in Windsor, Grady’s job is to help students struggling to meet California’s grade level standards in reading and writing. This academic year, that work — and the shared experience for many fellow teachers across Sonoma County — has been an unsettling game of catch-up. “We struggled choosing who was going to get the spots” in her classroom, Grady says. “Because so many of them needed it. Because so many of them are behind.”

The return of nearly all of Sonoma’s 66,450 public school students to classrooms in August was hailed as a pandemic milestone. As a group, they had been stuck at home and consigned mostly to online-based instruction since March 2020, in some cases for months longer than most of their Bay Area peers—the result of stubbornly high local Covid case rates and local public health guidelines that were among the most conservative in the state.

Continue Reading on Sonoma Magazine

Soaring Sonoma County student absences increase strain on schools struggling amid COVID-19 surge

in Schools

When Sierra Bradley walked into her fourth-grade classroom this week at Santa Rosa Charter School for the Arts, she couldn’t count on more than half of her students being present.

Of 20 students enrolled in her class, only 10 or fewer were there during the start of the second week back after winter break ended.

“Every day, I’m not sure if I will be able to teach my lesson plans that I’ve come up with, because there’s not enough students to teach them to,” said the teacher of 10 years. “Instruction is not happening the way it usually does.”

Continue Reading on Press Democrat

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