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KCS superintendent shares plan for new state laws surrounding learning loss, virtual learning

Rysewyk said KCS is no stranger to remote learning after the pandemic and the implementation of the system's online school two years ago.

KNOX COUNTY, Tenn. — Tennessee schools are planning to implement new Tennessee laws on Friday. 

One law will require schools to periodically practice for remote learning situations and implement after-school programs to account for learning loss.

Knox County Schools Superintendent Dr. Jon Rysewyk said the implementation of the laws will not be immediate since school does not start until August 8 and summer learning programs wrap before July 1.

HB 7004 requires school districts to have after-school mini camps, bridge camps and summer school to deal with learning loss.

Rysewyk said the school system will be revising its "response to intervention" approach for children falling behind in math and reading during the school year.

Students below a certain percentile will have 30 to 45 minutes of additional learning after regular instructional time.

Rysewyk said summer camps are already in place for Kindergarten through eighth grade.

"I was able to get out to six or seven of the sites in the last couple of weeks and just really saw students engaged in both the literacy and in the math," Rysewyk said. "Students doing everything from building aluminum boats and trying to keep them buoyant, to egg drops and those sorts of things."

HB 1964 requires school districts must practice for remote learning situations, and teacher training programs should include virtual learning tips.

Rysewyk said KCS is no stranger to remote learning after the pandemic and the implementation of the system's online school two years ago.

The superintendent expects the transition to be smooth since KCS students use a lot of the same tools for virtual learning and in-person learning such as Google Chromebooks and the online Canvas dashboard.

Rysewyk said the practices will be scheduled ahead of time and practiced periodically just like fire drills.

"I think we're prepared if something were to happen because we've done it before," Rysweyk said. "And then it's just more of a matter of checking the boxes for the state and what they think needs to happen."

With more than five weeks to go until school starts, Rycewyk said he is waiting on more guidance from the state as to what remote learning practices will look like.

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