The world of education has always been overloaded with insider jargon. During COVID-19, a whole new list of educational jargon made its way to the forefront of conversation in district offices across the country. No new phrase was more impactful, however, than the phrase “learning loss.”
Because of two incomplete school years due to the devastating effects of COVID-19, students across the country experienced a great deal of learning loss. Not only were students affected academically, they also missed out on extremely important years in regards to social development. At the end of the 2020-2021 school year, districts across the state were tasked with hosting summer learning programs designed to address one of the most concerning effects of COVID-19: learning loss.
Last summer, Haywood County Schools hosted over 1,000 students during their summer learning program during the month of June, and they’re gearing up for another summer learning camp this summer.
HCS District Leaders, Charles Byrum, Robert Mathis, and Sarah Aitken sat down to discuss everything you need to know about the summer learning program. Click this link to hear the full audio version of the interview.
Summer learning kicks off in Haywood County Schools on May 31, 2022. The summer learning program will run through June 24 and is absolutely free of charge for HCS students.
“The summer learning program starts on May 31 – the Tuesday after Memorial day – and runs through June 24,” explained Charles Byrum, Director of Accountability, Assessment, and Pre-K. “There’s not necessarily a deadline to sign students up, but the sooner parents contact their child’s school, the better.”
In fact, students could be signed up for the program as late as the morning of May 31, but there’s no guarantee a spot would still be available at the student’s school.
“We have to report all attendance to the state before May 31, but parents could still feasibly register their student on the first day, which is May 31. There’s no guarantee, though, that there will be room at that point,” Charles said.
Summer school will be taking place on every campus in the district with the exception of East Side Elementary. Due to school repairs being done, East Side students will be meeting on Haywood Elementary School’s campus.
Director of Middle School Education, Robert Mathis, explained all of the learning options that will be available during summer learning in Haywood County.
“Summer school will take place on every campus except for East Side. East Side will meet in Haywood Elementary because of repairs to the school being made over the summer,” he explained. “We’re introducing something called STREAM this summer which is a different take on the STEM program (science, technology, engineering, math). STREAM stands for science, tech, reading, engineering, arts, and math. Students will do hands-on projects, problem based learning, 3-D printing, and coding.”
Because a typical day in the summer learning program will look very similar to a typical day during the school year, the opportunity for teachers to focus on student learning is invaluable.
Director of Elementary Education, Sarah Aitken discussed the importance of academics during the summer learning program.
“Summer school was incredibly impactful for the younger students last year. It was the first time they’d been in school everyday consistently. Teachers were able to hone in on what the students needed. The class ratios are still going to be small, so students can get the learning support they need,” she said.
Not only will students get the academic support they need, students will also be provided with breakfast and lunch each day and also be able to have recess and attend all their normal auxiliary classes such P.E. and Music.
“A typical day during summer school will look a lot like a typical day during the school year except we’ll dismiss at 2:00 instead of 3:00,” Sarah said. “We’ll serve students breakfast. Students will have ELA time and Math time as well as all their auxiliary classes. They get lunch, too, as well as recess time.”
If students missed a large chunk of time during the school year due to sickness or quarantine, the summer learning program is an excellent opportunity for students to make up ground.
“If students missed a large amount of time this past year due to quarantine or sickness, they need to be in the summer learning program to help catch them up so they can be ready for their next grade in school,” Charles said.
To sign your student up for summer learning, call the school where your child currently attends.