Will kids fall behind under CPS’s hybrid learning model?

Mark Minelli, left, works with his son, Nico, 3, while Emily Minelli works with their oldest son, Tommy, 6, right, Thursday, April 2, 2020, in Cincinnati's Northside neighborhood. Emily and her husband Mark spend their weekdays switching between their full-time responsibilities as parents and workers plus his studies in graduate school.

Cincinnati Public Schools’ hybrid learning model, which began for some elementary students on Feb. 2, effectively cuts two days’ worth of instruction time per week for each student.

The split model makes it easier to maintain proper social distancing in compliance with coronavirus safety recommendations. But some students and parents are concerned they could be left behind when it comes to advance placement (AP) tests, which earn students college credit and saves some thousands of dollars in tuition.

Kate Hilton, a senior at Walnut Hills High School, is taking six AP classes this year, some of which are “months behind” in terms of preparing for the AP tests in May. She doesn't fault her teachers, she says, who are "doing their absolute best."  

“The detail of instruction and knowledge is not the same,” she said, comparing this year's classes to the six AP courses she took last year. “And I think this year they’re focusing on overarching themes versus getting into the tiny aspects of the material, which AP courses and College Board kind of expect you to know." 

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