By Superintendent Addison Davis
The pandemic has undoubtedly created interruptions in learning unlike anything ever seen in our educational system. While Hillsborough County Public Schools has focused on accelerated learning this academic year to bring students up to speed, we must continue our quest to bridge the achievement gap by providing a multitude of Summer Learning Program options throughout our district.
Studies show students can lose up to 30 percent of learning gains while taking a break over the summer month, which is widely known as the ‘summer slide.’ This occurrence can be especially damaging for students who have not met benchmarks for promotion as well as the more vulnerable student populations that need increased support.
Hillsborough County Public Schools will offer dozens of Summer Learning Programs for all grade bands. We will follow a two-pronged approach by providing opportunities for students struggling to grasp grade-level content as well as high-achieving learners looking for enrichment programs based on their interests.
Students who need Summer Learning for grade promotion or credit recovery will be asked to confirm participation through an online registration link. These comprehensive courses will include individualized interventions with a focus on small-group instruction to allow students to better grasp content. This will include a Migrant School Readiness program for English language learners to strengthen understanding of core concepts.
Our district is also thrilled to offer innovative summer camps for enrichment, such as a STEM Rocket Camp, Dual Language Success Camp, Nature’s Classroom Water Adventure Camp, Cyber Patriot Camp as well as an Elementary Summer Scholars Program. Each initiative offers unique hands-on learning opportunities to excite learners while sparking their curiosity and love for learning.
Students who participate in a Summer Learning Program with Hillsborough County Public Schools will be better prepared for the upcoming academic year. The goal is to strengthen understanding, build capacity and minimize pandemic-related interruptions in learning that we have seen not only in our district but across the nation.
Our communities will contend with what is called ‘unfinished learning’ due to the pandemic for some time. Our learners lost weeks to months of valuable instruction time in front of high-quality instructors as our nation dealt with a world health emergency. By providing authentic learning experiences over the summer months to promote achievement and understanding, we will continue our pursuit of closing the achievement gap.