ST. CLOUD (WJON News) -- A local organization is offering some new programming to help students get back on track in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Minnesota is partnering with area districts and the United Way of Central Minnesota to give kids extra help in reading and math to close the widening achievement gap.

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The Minnesota Department of Education and standardized test scores show in 2022 49 percent of students in the state are meeting standards in reading and that number drops to 42 percent for math.

The first new program is called the American Reading Company. Students are assessed to determine their reading level, taught how to find appropriate and interesting things to read, and then provided with books to build their reading confidence and skills.

The second program is run through a digital platform called Edmentum and helps kids in both reading and math. Kids are assessed for their current levels and then the software creates an individualized learning path using different activities and exercises to build skills. Students should be logged in and working for about 20 minutes two or three times each week for each learning area.

School districts in several parts of the state are also using this program to help students. Currently, 60 St. Cloud area students are using Edmentum through the Boys and Girls Club, but that number is expected to change.

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