FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne's NBC) -- After dealing with a school year and a half under the coronavirus pandemic, the superintendent of Fort Wayne Community Schools is looking ahead to what learning will look like once classes resume in August.
"Virtual schooling is not for the majority of our kids, so we know we have greater gaps than we've had ever before," Mark Daniel said.
He says more than half of Fort Wayne Community Schools' 30,000 students were remote learners.
He says because some of that learning inevitably got lost in translation, every student will be assessed on subjects when classes resume in August to determine where they stand and how to move forward.
"Have my students mastered it? Immediately the software will help us, assist us in that and also give us recommendations for interventions. Per kid? Per kid. So now you're dialing it down to an individual," he said.
Also, a percentage of remote students never engaged, even after multiple phone calls and visits to their homes.
"They enrolled, it's just all of a sudden they just disappeared. Those are the students we know we have to reach now. So therefore how do we reinstitute them into the system of this is learning?" he asked.
He hopes new mentoring and large summer remediation programs including reading and other subjects paid with three years of federal funding will get students re-engaged about learning.
Other resources will also be available this fall, after Daniel says his student advisory group told him they needed a different kind of help -- therapists.
"Depression, anxiety, fear, lonliness, very strong feelings. We need to sit down and talk with someone. We need to be able to express ourselves. That's what COVID did," he said.
Daniel says administrators will document everything the district does to help students catch up on their learning over the next three years to determine how the district can continue the new programs and more once the federal funding ends in 2024.
He says there were bright spots this past school year like students really embracing new hygiene rules and wearing their masks, as well as being able to enjoy proms and graduations this spring.