Intervention teacher

Submitted / The Outlook

Tallapoosa County Schools is bringing on eight teachers for the specific purpose of giving face-to-face interventions next school year, to address learning loss as a result of the pandemic.

The eight hires approved by the board of education Monday will be paid using federal Emergency and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER II) funds.

"We're using it in a way they suggested and that is face-to-face interventions for students," Superintendent Ray Porter told board members.

The district will bring on two intervention teachers per school, except Horseshoe Bend School which will receive four, two for the elementary grades and two for the high school grades. Porter said the intervention teachers will provide face-to-face tutoring not just for the low-achieving students, but any student who may have fallen behind during the pandemic.

The ESSER II fund, which falls under a second wave of COVID-19 relief funding from December, was passed as a supplement to the first round of ESSER funding passed in March. The federal government says school systems should spend it on "addressing learning loss and preparing schools for reopening" and "testing, repairing and upgrading projects to improve air quality in school buildings."

In a December study, consulting firm McKinsey & Company identified two proven measures to address learning loss: "acceleration academies," or summer school-like catch-up programs, and "high-intensity tutoring." The study also reported that tutoring is more effective when taught during school hours rather than after school.

While the introduction of face-to-face interventions is only a temporary measure, those teachers may stay on in permanent teaching roles in the event of another teacher's retirement or contract non-renewal, Porter said.