Summer means sun, fun and a break from school that could result in a loss of what kids have learned during the school year.
In fact, according to a 2021 report from NWEA, a research-based, not-for-profit organization that works to support students and educators, the average student loses “17-34% of the prior year’s learning gains during summer break.”
One of the best ways to combat that loss is by working with kids on the skills they learned throughout the year either at home or through one of the county’s numerous summer learning programs.
But how can you tell which program will work best for your family and how do you go about enrolling your child in one of these programs? Dr. Melissa Labadie, a Literacy Coach Consultant with the Macomb Intermediate School District (MISD), offers her insight and tips.
Choosing the right summer program
Parents in Macomb County have a wide variety of summer learning programs to choose from. The first step in choosing the right one for your child is determining if they need supplemental work or if they need to catch up before the start of the next year.
“The student’s general education teacher is the first line of conversation that a parent will have regarding the progress their student is making,” Labadie explains.
“If the child is not at grade level, the teacher states the child is a year behind or the testing information shows the parent that the child is behind in reading, math and other areas, those are all signs the parents should be looking at over the summer with some type of program to close those gaps.”
Such gaps in learning are harder to close the older the child gets, so students experiencing a gap in their skills will do well in an intervention summer school program such as the county’s Summer Scholars program, geared at kids in kindergarten to third grade, or their school district’s summer school program.
Unlike during the regular school year, which focuses on educational standards in a large-group setting, classes in intervention summer school programming are broken down into small groups based on need. Kids may even get the chance to work one-on-one with instructors.
“(Kids in summer school) will develop even deeper language skills and expand on vocabulary. They’ll do read-aloud activities, and they’ll do individual small-group instruction based on specific skills and needs,” Labadie says. “They’ll learn different applications of writing and the skills involved with writing. They’ll also learn the math facts, strategies and skills, so their skills can improve.”
Kids in need of supplemental work to keep their skills fresh during the summer can find that through programs often offered by local libraries or museums. They may also ask their teachers for supplemental work.
How to enroll your child in summer school
The MISD offers recommendations for summer school instruction to all of the districts in the county, but each individual school district is responsible for running their summer school program, so each program and what it offers may vary slightly.
Some districts offers summer school for free while others charge. Some may offer transportation or lunch and some don’t, so it’s important that you check with your district on what is offered before enrolling your child.
Once enrolled, students are expected to attend class, so it’s important to consider your own schedule when deciding on summer school for your child, too.
If you want to enroll your child in summer school, but know you’ll miss a few days, start a conversation with your child’s teacher to see what can be done to accommodate your needs.