“Covid Slide” Warning:
Help for Students with Learning Differences

Researchers from the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) in Portland (OR) have a warning for parents whose kids are home because of COVID-19 school shutdowns. The nonprofit organization – which does testing of student achievement — predicts what it calls a “Covid Slide” of academic declines, as students forget as much as half of what they were taught during the months before the COVID-19 state of emergency was declared. That means a more difficult time next year for kids in school, unless they can find extra help during this time of social distancing.

Researchers Megan Khufeld and Beth Tarasawa say the actual declines your child will suffer will depend on the course and grades. They predict students could lose 50% of what they learned in math by the time school resumes. And they say academic declines will be greatest for students in the third, fourth, and fifth grades. A bright spot? Students in kindergarten and first grade are least likely to forget what they have learned. 

The researchers say the problem is compounded by additional traumas students are facing with the advent of COVID-19, including economic insecurity. 

For students with learning disorders, the setback can be even more pronounced.  ARK Institute of Learning, a 25-year-old Tacoma-based nonprofit, is now offering individual instruction remotely for students and parents who don’t want their kids to slip back while their school is closed because of coronavirus.

The one-on-one online sessions are taught by staff who are thoroughly trained in providing help for those struggling with learning challenges and those with a variety of learning disorders, including dyslexia, dysgraphia, non-verbal/spatial disorders, and those affecting advanced high school math and science.  Instructors and students work one-on-one via Zoom video conferencing.

Instruction is typically based on results of testing or what’s called an “IEP.”  Because of Covid-19 interruptions, the “official” documents may not be readily available, but ARK instructional staff will piece together whatever documentation is available so that instruction can begin.  Sessions are scheduled based on the student’s need and availability, covering whatever is needed to try to prevent the “Covid Slide.”

More information about the “Covid Slide” and educational strategies to avoid it are available at ARK Institute of Learning. Find more information at arkinst.org, or call 253-573-0311 or email admin@arkinst.org to be connected with an ARK inquiry coordinator.

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: June 5, 2020

Pierce County has been approved for Phase 2. For the health and safety of staff and clients, ARK will continue to provide primarily remote instruction except under special circumstances in a very limited capacity in our building. There will be new protocols in place to keep clients and staff safe. More information to come!

(253) 573-0311    admin@arkinst.org

“If a child can’t learn the way we teach, 
maybe we should teach the way they learn.”  

IGNACIO ESTRADA, Director, Grants Administration
Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation


What makes us unique is that we recognize you are unique.

Our Values

If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you. ARK Institute of Learning is a non-profit committed to supporting determined learners in their desire to overcome learning challenges.

ARK Institute of Learning exists to diminish the impact of learning disorders in the lives of individuals.

In our history, we have assisted hundreds of students with a variety of learning challenges including dyslexia, language disorder,  nonverbal learning disorder/visual-spatial processing disorder, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, and specific learning disorder or disability. We also assist students who have no formal diagnosis but who would benefit from interventions in reading, written communication, math, oral and reading comprehension, and/or handwriting.

Find out more about how our history, commitment, and individualized approach can help.