It is commonly known that without regular access to learning activities students lose academic skills during summer vacation. As the director of learning supports for the Perry School District, Kelly Schloss dedicates her career to avidly pursuing ways to bridge educational gaps such as those fallen into during the summer months. She is responsible for pre k-12 special education services and the federally funded Title 1 program.
“If I were to nutshell my job, it would be working with struggling learners,” she explains. “I help with all three buildings and preschool in problem solving when students are having academic or behavioral struggles.”
During the weeks of June 30 – July 31, Monday through Thursday, more than 120 students participate in the newly-revised summer program at Perry Elementary School. What was previously implemented by an outside provider is now the project of Schloss and 31 dedicated teachers who devote their time for the students.
“The teachers and I really saw a need to continue the work the students were doing. We are learning as a group how to diagnose specific needs and provide individualized education instead of moving kids through a ‘canned’ program,” emphasizes Schloss.
Teachers work with no more than six students in their groups and focus their instruction on either reading or math to provide a stronger expertise. After snacks and recess the students rotate and focus on the alternate subject.
Positive feedback and enrollment numbers suggest the community is experiencing great benefit from the program. Schloss has received multiple parent comments commending the successes and positive growth seen in the children.
“My belief from parent surveys is that we really are individualizing our instruction. Kids and parents are seeing the value and more are taking advantage of the opportunity,” she says.
Tutoring programs are generally designed to incorporate a method of incentives using various trinkets as prizes.
“When planning this, our thought was if we want kids to become readers then we should be giving them books,” says Schloss. “They love it!”
Schloss strongly encourages the community and parents to become involved in the school environment.
“Even if they could come just once a month or are not confident with their English, the physical presence means so much to the kids,” Schloss says.