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*Names and photos have been changed to protect the privacy of the student.

It was the fall of 2019, Shelby had just started 2nd grade. Little Lights staff administered the STAR Assessment to assess Shelby’s reading and math levels and found that her instructional reading score was on a preschool level and her math scores were below-proficient.

Based on Shelby’s test results, our staff encouraged her to consistently come to Homework Club, our daily homework help program and recommended that she participate in Reading and Math Heroes, Little Lights supplementary 1-to-1 tutoring programs.

We also made sure all of her work was targeted at her instructional level - the point at which she can just work independently. It is the sweet spot of learning that helps cement concepts.

In 3 months, Shelby’s scores drastically improved. Her instructional reading level moved up an entire grade level. And in math she demonstrated 61% more growth than her peers.

Shelby’s growth did not go unnoticed - in January of 2020 her school awarded her Student of the Month.

Once the pandemic hit and students began learning from home, Little Lights staff sought out tangible ways to support students during the virtual learning era.

Shelby attends Zoom Heroes from her wi-fi enabled tablet that was given to her by Little Lights at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. It is the primary device she uses for virtual schooling. This fall, we administered the STAR Assessment to Shelby virtually. Her progress has decelerated due to the effects of virtual schooling. Our staff is working closely with Shelby to regain her earlier strides.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to threaten our students’ academic progress. While Little Lights has found creative and safe ways to continue offering virtual academic support and to distribute tablets and laptop computers, the academic barriers for our students are immense.