BATON ROUGE, La. - The Louisiana Department of Education is encouraging school systems to approach summer learning in a new way. The Department’s new summer learning program guidance helps systems develop offerings that mirror summer camp. Along with core content tutoring in small groups, the sample structure provided by the LDOE includes field trips, the arts, library visits, recess and well-being supports.
“Despite the heroic efforts of our educators, students lost out on more than academics during the pandemic. They also missed music, art, P.E. and the social connection with classmates and educators,” said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Cade Brumley. “We’re pleased systems are considering our guidance utilizing their pandemic funding to rethink summer school. Families deserve the choice of full-day, enriching activities with high-quality educators.”
Summer learning programs are designed to provide students with additional opportunities for learning and growing during the summer months. The Department is encouraging school systems to create opportunities for all students to access a summer learning program. The new guidance includes sample structures, schedules, staffing, academic offerings and enrichment activities school systems can use as they fund summer opportunities for incoming K-8 students. The guidance also recognizes the long-term benefits of systems connecting with community partners to support their work.
School systems can utilize multiple funding sources to support implementation. These include funds from their general fund, Title I, CARES, CAA and Direct Student Services allocations.
There are various short- and long-term benefits of summer learning programs, including:
Acceleration, maintenance or extension of academic skills
Allows students to explore activities and interests that develop the whole child
Helps prevent summer learning loss
Provides a safe, positive environment
Builds student-teacher relationships
Decreases discipline referrals
Decreases likelihood of students repeating a grade
Stronger academic performance
The summer learning program guidance was first released to school systems in February. School systems can utilize the Department’s Accelerate tutoring initiative along with their summer learning program. Launched this year on February 1, Accelerate is designed to provide systems with the structures and teachers with resources that will accelerate students’ learning in connection with what’s taught during the normal school day. In education terms, an acceleration approach means connecting unfinished learning in the context of new learning, integrating new information and the needed prior knowledge.