Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Closing the Summer Achievement Gap

Summer is here, but that doesn't mean learning stops.  Over the summer all kids regress if they do not continue learning, reading, thinking and solving real-world problems.  Sadly many kids return to school from summer break lower academically than when they finished the year.   Now that may not be a massive problem if a student is in the top of his class, but for struggling students, it is a huge problem that we must devote our attention to solving.

Summer and Poverty
My personal kids will get a wide variety of experiences this summer.  Camps, trips, events, and a wide variety of memories and learning experiences will be gained.  When many kids think of summer, they think of adventure and a smorgasbord of experiences where learning is subliminal.  But sadly children of poverty will not have the same experiences or memories of summer simply because the majority of their learning adventures actually happen at school and without those summer experiences they fail to add on to all the knowledge that they learned during the school year.

This video further explains how the opportunity gap exacerbates the achievement gap.

Summer Can't be a Break Anymore
Let's face it.  Kids of poverty will regress over the summer.  That is a fact, and it is critical that all educators view summer as different kind of learning, the kind that is both exploratory and recreational.  We must find ways to take our students places and expose them to historical markers, museums, shows, new places and literature that will help them maintain their present level of performance.

Here are a few ideas that you can use to extend learning throughout the summer for all students, especially those of poverty.

  • Open the library a couple of days per week with a action- filled summer reading program.  
  • Use your athletic programs to offer camps that also include learning and character development.  
  • Create day trips to fishing ponds, local museums, parks, historical places, etc.
  • Partner with local churches or clubs to have water days or craft days.
No matter what you do or where you go this summer, always remember that if we want to close the achievement gap, we must close the opportunity gap first.  It doesn't take must time or resources to offer these experiences to our kids.  Experiences are ultimately learning opportunities, and if schools can make plans to provide those experiences to students of poverty, learning for all kids will never stop, and more importantly students will return to school next fall refreshed without having regressed.

What ideas do you have to close the summer achievement gap?

No comments:

Post a Comment