There has been no shortage of worry and stress for parents in the last few months as COVID19 closed our schools.  Perhaps a newer concern for families is whether their students are falling behind during this time.  And there is research that suggests that families may have reason to be concerned….

As noted by the Collaborative for Student Growth, the typical summer slide is going to be exacerbated by the interruption of school due to the pandemic. Their findings showed that students might only retain 70% of the traditional one year of growth in reading and may lose even more growth in math.  These numbers could also be worse for students without access to technology, internet and a support system at home.

Given that all students across the country are faced with a COVID slide, could a National Summer School Initiative (NSSI) be the answer?  As discussed in this podcast, a group of leaders are working together to form a non-profit to deliver a national summer school initiative.  The program will offer instruction by master teachers, who will be selected based on their ability to move students quickly with engaging instruction. Master teachers will deliver lessons live to thousands of students at one time.  In addition, partner teachers from partner districts will work closely with groups of 30 students from their local community.  Students will complete work via Kami, an education app,  and daily grade group meetings will help teachers reflect and prepare for the following day.  All staff will be trained on the platforms and schedule in advance with an intensive week-long virtual training institute.   Another component of the schedule design for students will be enrichment activities including music, visual arts, new media, dance, wellness and virtual field trips.

This initiative is such a bright spot for those parents seeking to keep their students engaged this summer.  And following the summer, there is the potential that this program could be refined and adapted for Fall 2020 to provide support to districts that need a remediation program, a virtual school for students, and professional development for teachers.  We look forward to following this initiative and hope to share updates with you on the initiative as it is rolled out.

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