Giving Compass' Take:

• Education experts find that summer school programs are opportunities to pivot strategies and implement blended learning models. 

• How can donors help promote and expand summer school programs?

• Read more on how school districts can prepare for coronavirus. 

Across the country, schools are trickling out for a well-deserved summer break, and for some, the start of summer school. But despite the economic reopening plans many states are rolling out, many schools aren’t offering summer programs at all. And those that are planned aren’t taking place in person, according to a recent analysis from the Center for Reinventing Public Education, or CRPE.

“A lot of the schools are still doing virtual summer school,” says Sean Gill, a research analyst for CRPE who co-authored the report. “I think that speaks to the uncertainty even in the states that are reopening.”

According to the CRPE analysis, which looked at plans from more than 100 districts and charter school groups, less than half were offering summer programs for elementary and middle school students, while 58 percent were offering a program for high schoolers. A separate analysis of 196 school traditional public and charter school districts by the behavior analytics firm Social Context Labs and EdSurge, representing different geographies, sizes and poverty levels turned up similar results. Among the districts in our study of published policies, 60 percent offered some type of summer school.

When it comes to existing summer programs, many are offering credit recovery and other traditional offerings. That approach might miss an opportunity for addressing learning loss caused by missed instruction during the switch to remote learning, according to the CRPE analysis.

“This summer presents a perfect time for districts to pilot new strategies not usually in their repertoire, and instead try to rebuild something different,” such as enrichment and other targeted programs aimed at smaller groups, the authors write.

“I think we were hoping to see, or were curious to see, if districts would say, ‘This is where we can test out a blended model,’” says Gill, referring to the mix of online and in-person instruction that might become necessary as COVID-19 infections continue.

Read the full article about summer program opportunities by Stephen Noonoo at EdSurge.