While there has always been an equity gap in education, the past year has challenged and stretched educators in unimaginable ways and despite the best of intentions, distance learning has widened the equity gap. By leveraging summer learning, it may be possible to get a jump start to the new year, reimagine our approach to remedying inequities and trauma, accelerate learning, and bring back the joy of school for students across California.
Rather than focus on remediation, summer learning can focus on providing deeper, experiential learning for students that provides opportunities for both academic and social-emotional attention and acceleration and launches students into the fall ready to rise. The influx of COVID relief funding provides schools an opportunity to create dynamic, exploratory, and joyful learning that is both rigorous and fun.
We recommend LEAs start by understanding all the funds that are available to them and then move to design powerful summer programs. You can start with some of the summer planning templates created by the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching.
We’ve identified two COVID-specific relief sources that can be used to support expanded learning:
For a list of additional opportunities, visit CA3’s Funding Sources for Expanded Learning Programs.
AB86 provides $2 billion for In-Person Instruction (IPI) grants and $4.6 billion for Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELO) grants.
Designing programs that help reengage students in a joyful manner while accelerating their learning will require planning and preparation, an emphasis on social-emotional learning, a project-based learning lens, and the creative use of staff and time
More than ever, it is critical that LEAs prioritize healing and joy. Summer programs should focus on promoting both academic and social-emotional learning. Here are some resources on SEL and meeting basic needs:
While academic goals should be part of your program, the intent should not be to reteach all content from the prior year. Ensure programs are rich in joy and fun, and leverage projects and explorations to engage students in new ways of learning.
Rethink the role of staff and engaging everyone in the process of supporting young people. Who is best qualified to do what part of the summer work?
How can you structure the day to engage students and promote learning?