If you are like many school administrators, spring is when you start feeling pressure to help students maintain their learning during the summer months. Considering the recent educational interruptions and hardships from COVID, preventing summer learning loss is more important than ever. So how can you persuade students to continue learning during the summer months? It’s tricky, but some districts are trying some creative problem-solving. Here are a few ideas.
Most districts offer summer school as part of the solution. Summer school has various forms and goes by many names, such as extended school year, credit recovery program, academic camp, and summer academy. Whatever you call summer school, it translates to more days learning, building relationships, and engaging minds. While the potential benefits are clear, attendance is typically low. Families don’t prioritize summer school at the same priority level as they do during the regular school year. It may be tempting to hold back promoting unless they regularly attend, but this approach would result in unpleasant backlash from families.
To promote learning without threatening negative consequences, try some of these ideas:
- Ask families ahead of time what barriers they might have for student attendance and try to remove those barriers.
- Encourage “Self-Study” on Castle Learning so students can keep practicing their skills even if they miss a few days of class. You can also suggest Self-Study to make up for missing assignments or extra credit. Self-Study allows students to learn and progress at their own pace in many subjects and levels. The questions come from the bank of questions that teachers can select. The questions have all the same great features you have come to expect from Castle Learning, such as hints and instant feedback. Teachers can track student progress so they can give credit or incentives to students who learn with it.
- Lengthen summer school sessions to accommodate poor attendance.
- Offer a remote school option, so students learn from grandma’s house or wherever they happen to be.
- Try to make summer school enjoyable with fun activities and themes.
- Offer summer school right before school starts or right after the school year ends so it doesn’t feel like as much of an interruption to vacation.
- Offer incentives for good attendance.
- Incorporate other services and perks such as using a community garden, meals, and special events into the summer school program.
- Despite all your efforts, some of your students will be unable to attend summer school. Suggest that they use “Self-Study.” You may even offer an incentive program to increase participation. Students can choose “Rocket Mode” or “Expert Mode.” Rocket Mode is the default choice because it has a more straightforward user interface, and we generally recommend it. The expert mode works well for high school students who have specific topics they want to review for a test. Students can use this guide for navigating self-study.
Like students, most teachers would rather be relaxing in the summer. Ask teachers how you can entice them to teach during the summer and try to provide those things. Think beyond pay (which is also important) to make teaching during the summer more enjoyable. Teachers agreeing to teach summer school appreciate the resources on Castle Learning for reducing the time they spend on prepping and grading assignments. The platform is easy for teaching remotely, in person, or a combination.
At Harris Education Solutions, we want students to feel prepared in the fall. To aid in that goal, Castle Learning provides courtesy access for existing customers over the summer months.