Filling the Gaps for Virtual to Face-to-Face Students

So without putting blame, pointing fingers, or feeling bad about yourself in any way, shape or form, data and experience is revealing pretty clearly that virtual learning (at least virtual learning planned in a matter of months or weeks -for some, days even) is not best practice for the majority of students -especially those who are stuggling academically to begin with. It doesn’t mean the teacher is bad. It doesn’t mean virtual teachers aren’t working like crazy. It means that for most students, that forum of learning is not the most effective – including my son.

Now, with that being said, there’s no blame or judgment for parents who feel virtual learning is best for physical safety – let me give that statement as well. We just want to face the “elephant in the room” and go ahead and discuss the gaps students are already showing coming back to face-to-face instruction.

Last week, I was blessed to have 7 amazing adminstrators join me on a panel for our Grace, Grades and Guidance Administrator Symposium. We talked about what worked in 2020, what didn’t, and how we can move forward proactively. Mr. Giberto Salinas, Principal in Community ISD, stated that they had implemented a process for students coming back that quickly assessed and flagged the deficits that were showing up in those students. His campus then was partnering with support personnel to immediately to pull out and push in groups for those students to work on specific skills they were lacking. By support staff, I mean, the Bilingual Director to help with the students where language is an issue, the Curriculum specialists to help in certain content areas, and the instruction coaches where needed- he created a plan and got help to implement it! I remember as an instructional coach how many times I had to just go in and ask who I could work with because so often we just weren’t used as effectively as we could’ve been!

So in addition to pulling in support staff, here are a few ideas for quick intervention for students coming back from virtual learning:

  1. Re-engage them. Make them feel like they are part of the class. Have “Get to Know You” Activities and make them feel comfortable. Many students haven’t been in a classroom in almost a year. They need to know you are glad they are there! They need to know they have a place in your classroom.
  2. Have an in-class assessment ready for them that will highlight strengths and challenges and give a baseline for where the student’s skill level is currently sitting. Have tutorials, intervention time and teacher small group time that hits on these skills.
  3. Differentiate! Remember that all students can learn, but they learn differently. It would be a shame if they moved from one learning style that didn’t work into another! Have your students take an inventory – or simply ask them! Give them choices and see where they perform best or shine!
  4. Set goals. You may be working with students who have never really been behind before -or you may be working with students who have been behind for years! Set individualized goals and then help the students create a plan to meet them!
  5. Scaffold the current instruction. You don’t always have to go back to the beginning if the student is missing the skill. Sometimes (a lot of the time), you can scaffold what you are currently teaching so that the student has access to the grade level content. Chunk the reading, directions and steps, highlight and preteach key vocabulary, include repetition of key meanings.

Let’s not let our students lose any more time in a classroom without their needs being met. Administrators, get a proactive process into place! Teachers, be proactive in your classroom!

You’ve got this! We’re here to help! Check out our YouTube Channel: Jenn Kleiber, and for more information about our PD or Culturally Responsive Courses, check out our website at

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