Tell KCRW: How has this school year treated you?

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Despite a return to in-person instruction during the 2021-2022 school year, students are struggling in the classroom. Photo by Shutterstock.

After more than a year of pandemic-induced disconnection, many students and teachers saw the 2021-2022 academic year as the first chance to get back into classrooms and return to normal. But what does normal look like?

Nearly half of all LA students have been “chronically absent” from school, missing weeks of much-needed instruction and time spent alongside peers. 

California standardized testing shows that students are reading and writing at below grade level, and some eighth graders have the mathematical knowledge of fifth graders

And outside of academics, kids are struggling to stay mentally and emotionally afloat. Nearly half of high school students reported feeling sad and hopeless during the pandemic, while 63% reported experiencing an emotional meltdown. The mental health crisis has pushed California lawmakers to invest billions of dollars into schools to find mental health professionals. 

As the school year comes to an end, KCRW wants to hear from Southern California’s students, parents, and teachers. How has your relationship to school changed? Have you thrived during these tumultuous times? Or have you struggled to make it through the days? What needs aren’t being addressed by your school district or local government? 

Share your story with us above, or send a voice memo to Make sure to include your name and phone number, and you might hear back from our reporters.

Not sure how to send a voice memo? Check out this handy NPR guide!