Not Your Father’s Summer School: How Districts are Reinventing Summer Programs to Meet Diverse Learning Needs

March 30, 2017

Back in the day, summer school was just for students who needed to recover lost course credit. No one actually wanted to go to summer school. Today, the outlook for summer programs is much sunnier. Districts are using summertime to expand learning opportunities for all their students, from struggling to high achieving.

Digital curriculum is playing a large part in how today’s summer programs provide instruction. Digital curriculum’s ability to personalize learning for individual students is a huge benefit. Whether students need remediation or are working ahead of the rest of the class, competency-based progression embedded in digital curriculum ensures mastery for every student and steady progress toward learning goals. This also enables instructors to facilitate more than one course at a time and therefore support more students. Finally, digital curriculum provides flexibility to students for where, when and how they learn. Students with transportation challenges or those who have other obligations, including summer sports, camps and jobs, can complete coursework on their own time, in their own space, periodically meeting with teachers for instruction and check-ins. 

Forward-thinking districts are leveraging digital curriculum in a variety of ways to address a wider range of student needs, but three of the most popular are to:

  • Provide flexible opportunities to earn initial course credit
  • Remediate gaps in prerequisite knowledge prior to advancing grade-levels
  • Improve academic readiness for college and career



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