Many districts are well aware of summer slide, which is the loss of academic knowledge during the summer, typically around one month’s worth of learning, according to the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA). That number can be even higher for disadvantaged students who have less access to academic programs over the summer.
Although the snow is still falling in many parts of the country and long lazy days in the sun seem like a world away, now is the time to start planning for summer school. Students who may have fallen behind and need to recover a credit or those who need extra support and even for those who want to get ahead, summer is the time for districts to support the individual needs of each student.
Not Your Father’s Summer School: How Districts are Reinventing Summer Programs to Increase Opportunity and Achievement
Back in the day, summer school was just for students who needed to recover lost course credit. Today, innovative districts are expanding their summer programs beyond traditional remediation of course failure to meet a wide range of student learning needs, including options to earn initial course credit, prepare for college entrance exams, and remediate gaps in the prerequisite knowledge needed for success in the upcoming grade level.
Summer school creates a number of significant challenges for teachers, including the pressure of condensing a semester's worth of instruction into a much shorter period of time. However, summer is also ripe with opportunity for exploration and is often used to implement new or innovative learning models. Increasingly, teachers are exploring the possibilities digital curriculum has to offer.