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As kids prepare for school year, student achievement still lags behind pre-pandemic levels

A Back to School Bash at Walnut Hill Park in New Britain was held to excite students as they gave out school supplies and uniforms.

NEW BRITAIN, Conn. — As kids get ready to go back to school, student achievement still lags behind pre-pandemic levels in Connecticut according to new data released by the Connecticut State Department of Education on Thursday. 

School districts like New Britain are getting students ready with a Back to School bash too. 

Students, parents, and teachers said they are excited and ready for school and to get students where they need to be even while having a little fun like Thursday’s event. 

RELATED: New Haven Public Schools kicks off community canvass promoting attendance

“I’m excited to be back. This is probably our first normal year since everything has happened so I can’t wait to meet my new group of kids,” said Smalley Elementary teacher Kristen Holmes.

To kick start the school year, hundreds of parents and students showed up to the Back to School Bash at Walnut Hill Park where they gave out school supplies and uniforms.

“This is a great showing of New Britain, the New Britain parents, the New Britain kids. Our partners, our staff. New Britain is ready for our kids,” said New Britain Superintendent Dr. Tony Gasper.

This school year teachers and students will continue to catch up to pre-pandemic learning levels. The Connecticut State Department of Education released last school year's state assessments. 

The data shows that the rates of academic growth are increasing, but students in grades four and five may be two to three months behind their expected performance had there not been a pandemic.

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Sixth through eighth-grade students may be five to seven months behind in ELA, and a year or more behind in math.

“Because of COVID obviously kids are behind, but some of the teachers in this district are some of the best I’ve ever met and we’re going to work hard to get them where they need to be,” said Holmes. 

The students are ready.

RELATED: New Haven Public Schools focus on attendance and reading this school year

“We’re going to go to school, we’re going to learn, and we’re going to have some fun, right? Yessir!” said seventh grader, Abraham Mandoza,

Also at the back-to-school bash, their community partners gave out 500 backpacks and 500 meals.

DeAndria Turner is a multi-media journalist at FOX61 News. She can be reached at dturner@fox61.com. 

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