Summer school is open, but will students who need it most show up?
This will be the last year of Covid-funded summer school before the pandemic relief money runs out, writes Jo Napolitano on The 74. Some school districts hope that plunging math scores will rebound over the summer. But some programs don't have space for all the students who need help, while others can't persuade them to show up.
Baltimore City and Cleveland are tied for worst-in-the-nation in fourth-grade math, losing 15 points on the National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP), she writes. Eighth-grade math scores dropped nine points in Baltimore and eight points in Cleveland.
"Just 7 percent of third through eighth graders tested proficient in math on recent state exams" in Baltimore, Napolitano reports. "At 23 Baltimore schools, not a single student tested proficient in math." The district is offering more than 22,000 camp slots from pre-K through 12th grade for summer 2023 programming. But last summer, with 20,000 slots, only 15,000 children participated. Cleveland Metropolitan School District, has enrolled only 4,200 students in its five-week summer learning program with hopes of reaching 6,500.
Summer school is optional in most school districts. Many low achievers students will not sign up or, if they do, won't show up, school leaders say. Many parents don't realize how far their children fell behind.
The exception is Tennessee, which is requiring summer school for students who failed third-grade reading tests but want to move on to fourth grade.
WPLN visits a Nashville elementary school where students are working on the "u" sound. "I think kicking the can down the road and hoping that our students are going to catch up at some point is not realistic anymore,” said Alice Weber, a numeracy coach.
Newark Public Schools is requiring 10,000 students to attend summer school due to poor attendance and low grades and test scores, reports Jessie Gomez on Chalkbeat. Will students who didn't attend during the school year show up in the summer? Probably not.