Recently, we reported on the city of North Las Vegas’ pandemic pod effort, namely, the Southern Nevada Urban Mico Academy, or SNUMA. Included was what must be the edu-quote of the year from North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee:

Children who otherwise likely would be given a jar of peanut butter and told not to answer the door while their parents work and CCSD remains virtual instead are attending in-person homeschool co-op learning sessions, receiving live tutoring and participating in enriching, fun activities in a safe, socially distant environment at a cost of just $2 per day.

Now comes word not only that the city is renewing the effort until the end of spring semester 2021, but of preliminary data on academic outcomes.

Says councilwoman Pamela Goynes-Brown, who has led the city’s efforts at SNUMA: “Our kids are learning and thriving in a safe environment. I could not be more proud of their progress.”

Among the academy’s academic results:

·       While 78% of children arrived at SNUMA below grade level in reading, 62% are now at or above grade level

·       While 93% of children arrived at SNUMA below grade level in math, 100% currently are working on material that is at least on grade level

·       While nearly three-quarters of third graders (71%) arrived reading below grade level, 42% are now at grade level, and 28% are above grade level; additionally, 85% have completed at least a year’s worth of growth since their initial assessment

·       While 71% of third graders were testing below grade level in math, 57% are now working at grade level, and 43% are working above grade level

The news story lacks detail regarding testing, but these data presumably have been derived from formative assessments. The data appear very promising, but obviously a great deal more study is warranted before drawing any conclusions. Nevertheless, beating the living daylights out of being left alone with a jar of peanut butter may just be a warmup for this innovative form of education, so stay tuned to this channel for more developments in 2021.

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