Colorado education, community leaders push for summer programs to recover from learning loss

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As school districts begin to consider summer school to make up for pandemic-related learning loss, a group of Colorado education and community leaders is proposing something a little more creative. The Recovery Summer Coalition hopes to use federal and state funds to find community-based solutions for summer engagement.

“No student ever wants to go to summer school,” said Rebecca Holmes, CEO of the Colorado Education Initiative.

The former teacher said traditional credit recovery programs are not the best say to re-engage students.

“The research on dropout prevention tells us any student who’s failed more than two classes has a three times more likelihood of dropping out of high school and so we have to remind ourselves what we know about relevance in how we think about academic catch-up for those students,” Holmes said.

She suggested programs for older students that tie into community engagement and job opportunities. For younger students, the Recovery Summer Coalition is pushing a “whole child” approach that takes into account social-emotional development.

“Students do not just learn in the classroom. They learn in the world. They learn at home,” said Jennifer Sedron with Early Milestones Colorado.

Sedron said early childhood and summer camp programs could be re-purposed this summer to tie more directly into school curriculum

“We have communities saying what are we going to do with our recreation centers, our YMCAs, our scouting clubs, how can we start talking about the ways we can use the available facilities and connect in a little more tightly with the school system,” Sedron said.

Community partners interested in helping with “recovery summer” are encouraged to sign on to an open letter to Gov. Jared Polis.