Giving Compass' Take:

• More planning and prioritization will have to happen as the school year wraps up so that students are set up for success in the fall. 

• What can education donors do to help school districts prepare and access more resources if necessary? What are the major lessons from remote learning that will help usher in success for the next school year? 

• Read more about preparing for coronavirus. 

The end of an unusual school year is on the horizon, yet few districts have provided details on what, if any, summer learning opportunities their students will have.

Summer school is typically used to make up missed credits, provide enrichment or give working families much-needed child care. This year, there are new, urgent needs.

Almost every student will likely need to make up for some learning lost this spring when schools closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If school buildings are allowed to reopen, the formality of summer school might provide a welcome reprieve from months of unstructured days families experienced during remote learning. Yet the continuing uncertainty of the public health emergency could lead to only virtual options, or none at all.

Our database of 82 districts includes only what districts have posted on their websites or communicated publicly, and it’s quite possible that more plans are in the works. But parents need clarity, and districts must plan now so summer learning can set students up for success this fall.

  • Districts are still largely silent on summer plans As of May 12, just 26 of the 82 districts reviewed (32 percent) have stated clearly that summer learning will be available, and even then, much seems up in the air.
  • Most summer plans rely on virtual learning Virtual learning may be more likely than in-person instruction. Of the 26 districts with definitive summer learning plans, 17 have already decided to stay virtual.
  • Summer school may aim to keep vulnerable populations on track With concerns that learning loss has disparate impacts, districts may choose to target specific students most in need. Miami-Dade County Public Schools is identifying students who had a high absence rate or who did not participate in distance learning for credit recovery or remedial instruction.
  • Positioning summer learning as the first step toward academic recovery How districts decide to use this summer should be based on what they are planning in their long-term recovery.

Read the full article about priorities and opportunities for school districts by Lisa Chy and Sean Gill at The 74.