School is out but that doesn’t mean that learning has to stop. To succeed in school and life, most students need ongoing educational opportunities. For some students that means camps, trips to museums, and checking out library books. But some youth do not experience this ideal, carefree summer and struggle to find educational opportunities, leading to them experience well documented setbacks in academic performance.
All young people experience some educational learning loss over the summer. Some students can lose about two months of grade level equivalency in math. Students from low socioeconomic backgrounds also lose more than two months in reading achievement. (www.summerlearning.org)
At the Fort Dodge Community School District, we are providing several opportunities for our students to continue their learning over the summer:
- Elementary – summer school at Butler Elementary is being offered to over 30 students from throughout the District. These students will focus on reading and math. Duncombe Elementary also offers two additional summer school opportunities for kids. One opportunity is for first grade students and focuses solely on stopping the summer slide (loss of reading achievement). This summer school opportunity is a partnership with the AEA and the Fort Dodge Library and meets throughout the summer. Duncombe also offers an opportunity for students for whom English is not their first language. This summer school focuses on conceptual teaching and gives students extra work in building background knowledge and academic vocabulary.
- Joy of Reading Book Club: Second grade students from the District are participating in this book club. A Little Free Library is positioned at Crossroads Mall so kids can exchange books to read. When the student returns a book, he/she can go to Book World to have a card punched. Students with at least four punches on their card by the time school starts will earn a Fort Frenzy gift card.
- Middle School – students are engaged in a reading project in summer school that includes learning reading strategies and putting those strategies to use by researching a topic of interest. Part of their experience will include publishing books they are writing and sharing them with family at the end of the session.
- Senior High – is offering a couple of options for summer school. About a dozen students are taking a field biology class, where the students are going out into their environment to learn science. In addition, a number of students are engaged in online learning opportunities.
Summer school not only helps diminish the level of learning lost over the summer, it also provides many students with fun educational opportunities to look forward to. Our goal at the elementary and middle school levels is to slow down the summer slide of reading/math loss that typically occurs whereas at the high school level, we are looking to ensure students stay on track with needed credits.