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Summer school programs get a boost after a year of pandemic losses | New

Educators are already aware of the ‘summer slippage’, the slowdown in learning between school years, but this year summer programs will play a bigger role in helping many people catch up with academic and social backwardness afterwards. a completely distant school year for many San Mateo. county students.

On average, students were likely to lose five to nine months of learning by the end of the 2020-21 school year, a McKinsey & Company study of this last winter found.

Parents are worried about these losses. Almost three-quarters (73%) of parents of young children said they were concerned about their child’s ability to socialize with other children, and 74% fear their child’s education and development might suffer in the middle pandemic, according to a February poll of 600 parents of children aged 0 to 5 in California by the Education Trust-West.

In an effort to combat the impacts of the pandemic on student learning, Governor Gavin Newson awarded grants to districts to strengthen their summer programs. School districts and county organizations are running additional programs this summer to meet those needs.

San Mateo County Libraries JPA Board Approved $ 892,000 in additional funds to support student programs this summer.

The Library Explorers program has approximately 325 children enrolled in June and July, Monday through Wednesday. It is designed to develop literacy, math and socio-emotional skills for the 2021-22 school year. The program is adapted to the age group – students are divided into groups of kindergarten, first and second grade, and third and fifth grade.

“The impacts of COVID-19 have exacerbated and deepened inequalities in youth learning outcomes and socio-emotional development already present in our communities, disproportionately affecting youth of color,” according to a press release from the county library.

Students in Grades 1 through 5 participate in the Families CREATE program, which includes both self-paced and guided interactive virtual experiences complemented by English / Spanish kits with activities throughout the summer. Some 1,500 free STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) kits are distributed to all county libraries.

This summer, the library system is also partnering with local parks and recreation departments to provide free books, library cards and hands-on learning materials to youth enrolled in their programs. Additional financial support will be provided to subsidize the admission of young people in need to increase enrollment and access to quality experiences.

Carine Risley, deputy director of county library services, said the Explorers program should make a difference for students who need extra support. Some students are no longer used to being around adults other than their own parents, she said.

The Menlo Park City School District has expanded its summer school offering this year, offering a one-month project-based learning program, as well as a program for students who need more support. school. The state gave the district $ 2.4 million for such programming.

The district offers day and day formulas. In the past, all three elementary schools fed a single summer school, but each site is hosting their own program this year to meet demand.

The state grant “will allow us to provide a more robust summer program that will help solve any unfinished fifteen-month distance and hybrid learning”, the neighborhood website States.

About 160 students have enrolled in Hillview Middle School’s summer school program this year, said Jacky Schlegel, a sixth-grade humanities teacher at Hillview and director of the summer school. Traditionally, the summer school has been offered to students in need of an academic boost, but this year the district has opened it up to the whole community. Projects include DIY knotting and insect repellant, as they answer the question “How do I survive in the wild?” Said Schlegel.

“Many families recognized that what was lost was socialization and the ability to be with their friends every day,” she said shortly before the program started. “We won’t have stable cohorts; the kids will be able to see each other (during breaks).… You can’t just ignore the social aspect that has been lost as well.”

Marla Bischoff said her daughter, a growing seventh grader, chose to attend Hillview’s Virtual Only Academy this school year and did not return to campus with other students who attended. some in-person classes.

“As the year wore on, it was clear that she was really missing the face-to-face contact with classmates and teachers,” Bischoff said in an email. “She is excited to return to in-person learning, and this summer program allows her to make the transition to school and start building new relationships between peers and teachers. The teachers have put together a model of project-based learning to strengthen standards, ensuring students are ready for next year. “

Larra Olson, a third-grade teacher at Encinal School, is the principal of Oak Knoll School’s summer school. She said 115 students registered for the summer school in Encinal.

“(The parents) were very grateful to have the opportunity to have the option,” she said. “Some families have chosen the Virtual Academy all year round and this will be their first in-person experiences in over a year.”

Olson said it was difficult to find teachers as some are exhausted from teaching during the pandemic. Seven teachers, mostly substitute teachers, are teaching at Oak Knoll this summer.

Laurel School’s lower campus hosts the district’s Kick Off to Kindergarten program to help 55 incoming kindergarten students who did not attend kindergarten or are learning English, according to Stacei Santana, principal of the school. summer of Laurel Elementary School.

The Las Lomitas School District, home to Las Lomitas Primary School in Atherton and La Entrada Middle School in Menlo Park, is offering expanded summer programs this year, according to Shannon Potts, deputy superintendent of the program and the instruction for the district. About 8.7% (96) of Kindergarten to Grade 7 students enrolled in summer school in 2019, while 9.7% (101) of students enrolled in summer school. summer in person and online in 2020. This year 10.2% (93) of K-7 students registered for summer school.

It offers a new week-long Kickstart program for new Kindergarten, Grade 1 and Grade 4 students. Some 211 students had enrolled in the program – about 65% of students in those classes – as of June 23.

“We decided to add it because we didn’t have the option for incoming fourth graders to see the La Entrada campus this year,” Potts explained in an email. “Ditto for the incoming kindergarten (garden) at Las Lomitas. The 2020-21 kindergarten (garden) students entering first grade had a shorter day than usual and did not really come out of the kindergarten yard. (garden), so we figured they would benefit from a glimpse of the school. “

The Portola Valley School District, which was open on a hybrid basis for much of the past school year, has decided not to expand its summer school programs this year as many families have chosen to take advantage the ability to travel instead, said Superintendent Roberta Zarea. in an email.

“We had a lot of conversations in our (management) board meetings on the same topic as it seemed to be the case at the start of the 2020-21 school year (October / December),” she said. . “In fact, our board even approved an expansion of our regular summer program to address parent learning concerns. Interestingly, in the end, many parents whose students were invited to participate in the summer program chose to take a break and go on vacation instead this summer. “

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Erica Gill

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