Sam Tasby Middle School principal Audrey de la Cruz. Photo courtesy of Dallas ISD.

The principal of Sam Tasby Middle School worries the pandemic is hurting her students’ learning and wonders how they’ll catch up when it’s over.

Audrey de la Cruz is the principal of the Dallas ISD school, where students from across the world speak more than 40 languages. Many of the students need to learn English.

“We need serious action because these kids could fall too far behind to ever be able to catch up,” de la Cruz tells The Hub. “We have to make up for lost time in getting our students the foundational pieces they need for lifelong success.”

Her concerns are consistent with recent research. In a Brown University study, researchers projected students were likely to return to school this fall with about 63-68% of the gains in reading compared to previous school years and 37-50% of the learning gains in math. And these learning losses aren’t consistent, as students in the top third of their classes were projected to potentially make gains in reading.

De la Cruz supports the intersession calendar proposed to the DISD Board of Trustees earlier this month. In this version, the school year would begin earlier and end later, giving schools more opportunities to teach students who need extra help.

The district proposed two other calendars to the trustees for approval. They are the school-day redesign and an updated base calendar.

The trustees will meet Jan. 28 to vote on the calendars.