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June 15, 2020
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Larson: summer school particularly important during pandemic

Read Superintendent David Larson’s earlier community columns.

In Glenbard District 87, we have a tradition of encouraging students to stay engaged with learning during the summer through summer school. In the midst of the pandemic, our tradition continues. We shifted our summer school model to be an e-learning experience, and recognizing that more families are experiencing financial difficulty, we waived all summer school tuition fees this year.

We understand the loss in academic skills and knowledge that is inherent with a three-month break from school. Known as the “summer slide,” studies show that, on average, students will drop one to two months in grade equivalency in reading and math skills during the summer.

Simple steps to boost reading skills

  • Set a reading goal – Something as simple as encouraging students to read 20 minutes each day will make a difference when the regular school year resumes. A great choice is the Glenbard Parent Series community read selection, “Long Way Down” by Jason Reynolds, Library of Congress Youth Ambassador to Reading. Details on Glenbard Parent Series website.
  • Check out local libraries – We encourage families to make good use of the quality public libraries we are fortunate to have in our communities. Local libraries have numerous online offerings and provide curbside services.

Important benefits of summer school
Summer school empowers students to develop skills that will allow them to start the new school year on a stronger footing and cultivates a work ethic that will serve them well in the future.

In addition to helping students stay on track academically, summer school provides structure for young people and helps them build confidence in their skills and abilities. These benefits are particularly important during the pandemic.

Activities can prevent learning loss
In addition to taking a summer school class, the following activities can prevent the summer slide:

  • Journaling about summer experiences
  • Taking advantage of virtual visits to an aquarium or museum
  • Cooking – enhances math and reading skills
  • Exploring a park and/or forest preserve

One of the key competencies in our Profile of a Graduate is for students to be self-empowered. Participation in summer school empowers students to have a growth mindset and work to maintain and build upon their skills. An investment in summer school will have a lasting positive effect on students’ abilities and confidence.

David F. Larson, Ed.D.