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Get a Jump on Teaching Summer School

Friday, May 5, 2023

Certain words that evoke the happy feelings of summer can be linked- picnics and barbeques, swimming and baseball, ice cream and popsicles. There are two words that teachers and students may not address with the same enthusiasm- summer and school. 

Summer school. Maybe some of us think these two things should never be combined. Still, specific activities and classes taken during June, July, and August can benefit students who require extra attention and tutoring to help them succeed in their next grade level. Fortunately for these students, there are dedicated and enthusiastic teachers who spend what is typically their vacation time continuing what they do best.  

Let's look at some reasons why kids attend summer school and how teachers can effectively prepare for this time with helpful tools like class record planners, academic calendar planners, and other useful resources.     

Why Students May Benefit from Summer School 

Students may need to attend summer school for several reasons that can vary based on individual circumstances. Reasons students may benefit from attending summer school include: 

• Academic Support. Providing targeted assistance to help students who are struggling in specific subjects or areas. It allows students to focus on weaknesses, catch up on missed material, or reinforce their understanding of key concepts.

• Credit Recovery. Allowing students who have failed a course or need to make up credits an opportunity to retake the class and earn the necessary credits to stay on track for graduation.

• Enrichment and Acceleration. Providing opportunities for students to explore new subjects, delve deeper into a particular area of interest, or advance academically.

• Remediation and Intervention. Providing additional academic support for students who are performing below grade level. Intervention addresses gaps, allows for extra practice, and offers individualized attention for students to catch up and improve their skills.

• Preparation for Standardized Tests. Offering targeted instruction and preparation for standardized tests such as SAT, ACT, or state assessments. Students can participate in review sessions, practice exams, and learn testing strategies.

• Transition Support. Assisting students in transitioning between grade levels or education settings by providing orientation programs, social-emotional support, and academic preparation to help students adjust to new expectations, curriculum, and school environments.

• Special Education Services. Providing additional support or therapies to students with special needs and possessing Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) addressing specific goals to maintain progress and prevent regression.

• English Language Acquisition. Providing language programs for English Language Learners (ELL) to enhance language skills, vocabulary, and communication abilities.

Best Practices for Teaching Summer School 

The current school year has come to a close, and summer sessions are about to begin. Preparing for summer school involves several key steps to ensure a smooth and productive experience for both teachers and students. Here are some suggestions for teachers to effectively prepare for summer school:    

• Reviewing the curriculum is essential. Familiarize yourself with the subject you will teach and understand the learning objectives, content, and any specific requirements or modifications. Use your class records planner or desk calendar to note goals and create task lists.

• Identifying students’ academic needs by reviewing available data or assessments to determine strengths and weaknesses, thus allowing you to tailor instruction and provide appropriate support.

• Planning lessons and activities using various instructional strategies and resources, including an academic calendar planner, to engage students and accommodate different learning styles. Incorporate hands-on activities, group work, projects, and interactive discussions to keep students engaged.

• Taking inventory of all the resources and materials you need, including textbooks, workbooks, desk calendars, supplementary materials, and technology tools.

• Setting clear goals and expectations as soon as the summer session begins. Establish guidelines for behavior, attendance, participation, and completion of assignments. Create a positive and supportive learning environment to motivate students and drive their success.

•Adapting instruction to individual student needs is important to maintain throughout the summer school program. Flexibility can help you prepare to differentiate instruction based on identifying individual strengths and weaknesses.

•Collaborating with colleagues, including other teachers and school staff members, can promote sharing ideas, resources, and strategies to enhance the overall experience for the students. It can be helpful to discuss student progress, challenges, and potential interventions.

•Creating a schedule and expected routines using a class record planner or desk calendar is essential for helping students manage their time well so they can make significant progress during the session.

•Reviewing effective classroom management strategies can help maintain a positive, efficient, and organized environment. By establishing consistent routines, teachers can manage behavior, transitions, and group work, as well as quickly address conflicts or disruptions.

Organizing a system to keep desk calendars, lesson plans, assessments, and student records in order will help you track student progress, assignments, and grades, thus allowing you to stay focused and on track.

•Being flexible and adaptable can be essential for any job but is particularly beneficial for teachers as each student often requires adjustments during the summer to meet their needs.

•Taking care of yourself is critical because summer school is intensive and moves rapidly. Addressing your physical and emotional needs by getting enough rest, maintaining a healthy work-life balance, and seeking support from family, friends, and colleagues when needed is an appropriate strategy, no matter the time of year. Remember that these months are still summer vacation, so try to reward yourself during any downtime from summer sessions.

By following these steps, teachers can effectively prepare for summer school and provide their students with a positive and enriching learning experience.  

How do you prepare for summer school classes? Do your best tools for staying organized and on task include classroom record plannersdesk calendars, textbooks, and supplemental resources? Now is the time to prepare to make your summer school sessions the most efficient and effective months for your students.