Giving Compass' Take:

• Researchers from the Center on Reinventing Public Education at the University of Washington found that many school districts aren't offering summer classes. 

• Some school districts are offering personalized learning programs through partnerships. How can donors help expand these initiatives? 

• Read about the five benefits of summer learning programs. 

Districts’ summer school plans are showing missed opportunities for addressing learning loss for students and fostering social connections, according to a new analysis by researchers who have closely monitored schools’ transition to distance learning during school closures.

In their review released Wednesday, researchers from the Center on Reinventing Public Education at the University of Washington wrote that less than half of the 100 school districts, and four of the 18 charter management organizations in their database were offering summer learning programs for elementary and middle school students. Fifty-eight of the districts and five of the 18 CMOs plan to hold summer school for high school students.

About a third, they wrote, haven’t yet announced plans for summer school.

“Summer offers an opportunity for districts to begin addressing learning gaps that emerged this spring, as well as other needs — like social interaction and special education services — that were unmet while school buildings were closed,” they wrote. “Our latest analysis shows far too few districts are capitalizing on this opportunity.”

Districts, for the most part, don’t seem to be trying new approaches, such as combining online and small group learning or enrichment, they wrote. And credit recovery and review appear to dominate most districts’ plans.

A few districts highlighted, however, include Henry County Schools in Georgia, which will create a “referral-based, but voluntary” program for K–8 students that includes a personalized approach for those at risk of not advancing to the next grade this fall. Another is the Los Angeles Unified School District, which is offering summer school for all grade levels in partnership with organizations such as the Aquarium of the Pacific and Fender guitars.

Read the full article about analysis of school districts' summer plans by Linda Jacobson at Education Dive.