Hey "i-Team" and happy May! 'Tis the season for grilling, chilling, and sunny days. I hope this month finds you well. So far it's going pretty good for me. Although the 2020-2021 school year will come to a close in a matter of days, it feels like this year has been the longest one on record. Mind you that although it was certainly the most challenging year of historic proportions, it has been filled with highs and lows. As we know, students in schools across the country have been in a virtual classroom setting (some districts in certain states have remained that way even at the time of writing this post).
To emphasize learning loss and summer break, in my June 2018 post, I discussed research based strategies for avoiding summer slide. When you have a chance, go check it out. Although "brushing up" on skills taught during the school year can have a positive impact on student academic growth, students need the opportunity to take a break by doing things they enjoy. Activities are typically self-initiated and create choice. Coincidently because of the change in school as we were all use to in years past, schools are now looking for ways to make up for the learning loss of many students due to the pandemic. So what should it be... summer school or summer break? An article in the Washington Post written by Fordham University professor Nicholas Tampio says that children in the pandemic era need a chance to play before they resume their formal education in the fall. On the other hand an article from Bloomberg columnist Andreas Kluth points out studies from the U.S. show that on average students started the current academic year having learned only 67% of the math and 87% of the reading skills that are typically expected. In schools with mostly non-white students, the percentages were 59% in math and 77% in reading. And those are last fall’s numbers, after only half a year of “online learning.”
As an educator for over 20 years, I have to admit I'm on the fence with this issue. On one hand, I see the need for students to catch up on learning loss. But on the other hand, I see the need for students to be able to take a break from school-be it hybrid, in-person, or virtual. Just like adults, children need balance; too much of anything can become problematic. Learning loss due to the pandemic has especially impacted students of color as well as students from rural communities. With so much still unknown about the upcoming school year, we're hopeful that we'll get back to doing school the way we did Pre-COVID. And this debate about summer school vs. summer break will be a long discussed topic as research studies are taking shape around this issue.
Under this week's Intentional Tool Kit, I've included a few articles mentioned in this post. I also included a great Summer Activity Guide that I found on the Georgia Afterschool Statewide Network. And if you head over to my podcast, you'll hear more about my thoughts around Summer Break Post Pandemic. As always, I hope you find these resources useful. So as we continue moving towards some type of normalcy as many across the country have received at least one vaccine, let's take some time to get out and enjoy the sunshine; because as the saying goes, "all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy". But on the other hand remember that "all play and no work makes Jack a mere toy". And on that note, until next time...go out there and be GREAT!
Shorter Breaks for Students
More play, less catching up
8 Summer Resources for Parents
GSAN--Georgia State After School Network
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