South Kitsap School District unveils summer academy plan for students
There's no doubting that some students will exit the 2020-21 school year feeling left behind as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting changes to typical education models.
South Kitsap School District wants to make sure those affected most by learning loss have the opportunity to receive additional help this summer before returning to class next fall.?
SKSD Executive Director of Special Services Andy Rogers unveiled the district's preliminary plan?for its summer academy on Wednesday during a school board meeting, saying it will be significantly larger in scope and scale than any summer program?offered in the past.
“You kind of have to view what we are doing this summer as the first phase of a multi-year initiative of really providing supports and interventions for students whose education has been impacted by COVID," Rogers said. "It will continue for several years with interventions in the summer, professional learning in the summer, but also will continue during the school year and grow into a larger program next summer. We would anticipate this model continuing.”
Plans call for a four-week summer academy
This?summer's academy will run for four weeks?— July 19 through Aug. 12?— and?feature programming at all three school levels: elementary, middle school and high school. Instruction will run Mondays through Thursdays for three hours each morning.
Rogers said dates were chosen for a reason: allowing students and staff a break after a challenging 2020-21 school year that saw a complete online learning model transition to a hybrid?in-person model.?
“We wanted to give people a chance to get away and recharge and reenergize," Rogers said.?“It has been a very draining last year-plus that we’ve been through.”
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The high school and all middle school sites will be used for classroom instruction, while the district is still determining which three elementary schools will be used for academy sites.
Rogers?said transportation and meal service are planned for all participating students. At the elementary and middle school level, teachers will focus on math and literacy advancement. High school teachers will assist students in credit recovery, particularly in areas required for graduation.
Elementary and middle school students will be grouped into learning cohorts. At the high school, Rogers said there will be some online learning potential, but the focus will be on classroom?learning since "the students who are struggling and falling behind need that in-person" direct contact.
Getting teachers to commit?
Rogers couldn't?provide an estimate on anticipated student participation levels?but said school counselors are in the process of providing performance data and reaching out to families who'd most benefit from the academy.?
Regarding staff totals, Rogers said numbers will be determined by expected enrollment and the ability of?the district to find teachers willing to keep working this summer.
“We are looking to start posting positions and hiring those positions," Rogers said. "One of the challenges we are concerned about is can we get our teachers to commit to doing this after the exhausting year that they've?had? We are trying to find ways to make this position attractive and give as much support as possible."
With the summer academy also offering professional learning/collaboration opportunities for teachers, Rogers said the district needs to negotiate with the South Kitsap Education Association to determine staff compensation.?
“We really want this to be a win-win," Rogers said. "We want it to be a great experience for our students, but also one that is beneficial for our staff.”
South Kitsap School District Superintendent Tim Winter said with the district in line to receive close to $20.5 million in federal COVID-19 relief funding, care must be taken when it comes to utilizing those funds for summer academy purposes. As Rogers mentioned, it's a multi-year initiative.?
“We are trying to really be intentional about how we put that money in play over the course of the next couple of years to support learning recovery for our kids," Winter said.