As the summer break quickly approaches in the Northeast I have come across various articles focusing on summer learning loss and the negative impact that time off has on students. In 2010 Time Magazine published an article that clearly articulated The Case Against Summer Vacation.
Even though there is a great deal of research on the loss of learning that occurs during the summer I am perplexed by the fact that many schools and parents are not doing more to prevent this. Here is a video that shares some stark statistics as well as a few great strategies that parents can utilize at home.
As a district we have always assigned summer readings (view this years assignment here). This year we are taking it a step further as we have developed assignments in both Language Arts and Mathematics to lessen the summer slide while retaining a focus on specific skills and concepts learned throughout the past school year. The math assignments developed by my teachers can be found on our . When I reminded the students of their summer assignments at our academic awards ceremony yesterday many parents in attendance began to clap and cheer. This provided some nice validation in terms of our shift towards implementing summer learning assignments.
As a result of a recent $10,000 donation to New Milford High School all students in grades 9-11 have access to Study Island in mathematics and language arts for the next three years. Certain 12th grade AP students will also have access in the following AP courses: Chemistry, Biology, U.S. History, Calculus AB, English Language & Composition, and English Literature & Composition. The expectation going forward is that teachers will develop standards-based assignments for all students to sharpen and retain skills, review concepts, and get a taste for the content to be learned in upcoming courses.
I am really interested to learn what other schools and educators are doing with their students over the summer to reduce and/or prevent learning loss. More importantly, how do we construct meaningful, relevant, engaging assignments that the students will want to complete? We all can agree that this is a major problem across our country that the traditional school calendar of 180 days has created for us. If you have developed successful programs, projects, or assignments PLEASE SHARE! In the meantime here are some articles that I have come across that present some great strategies for reducing summer learning loss: