ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — Are high needs school districts in New York properly equipped to get students back on track academically post pandemic? State test results show students grades three through eight in high need areas did poorly on the state math and reading tests, but school officials are hopeful that will soon change.

“We’ve known for a long time that socio-economic status and educational achievement are highly related to each other and we often see students who come from a wealthier background do better academically and on these types of tests,” said David Albert, Chief Communications Officer at NYS Schools Boards Association.

Albert said the 2022 test results in reading and math for economically disadvantaged students are about 10% lower than all students combined and the pandemic only made academics harder for those students. “Now you have a situation where a lot of those resources are not available, particularly if you don’t have technology you can’t even get your lessons. So it used to be that you go to school and maybe technology was a support, something to help you do better, now you needed that technology just to attend classes,” he said.

Officials say math lessons are especially difficult to learn remotely and often require in person learning. Despite the hurdles, Robert Lowry with NYS Council of School Superintendents said there’s reason to be hopeful, “With the increases in foundation aid from the state and in the temporary COVID relief funding, schools are able to put more money into tutoring, extended day, after school programs, summer school student mental health services and those funding streams, particularly the federal money.” Lowry said this funding, especially the federal money, is targeted toward higher need districts. Three out of every four school districts are using those funds to get students back on track.