Created: May 18, 2021 05:10 PM
(ABC 6 News) - New research from a national non-profit organization claims students are falling behind after a year of virtual learning, but it's not just a national problem. Plenty of students in our area have fallen behind this school year, and education experts say summer school this year may be more important than ever.
"Some students have done well, but there are definitely more students who need summer programming or need this opportunity," Johanna Thomas, the Albert Lea Area Learning Center principal, said.
Students' test scores and grades suffered while trying to tackle school from home last year.
"There has been a loss of instructional time with teachers in the classroom," Thomas said.
And this problem likely won't be solved quickly or easily.
"We're looking at this summer, next year and next summer, and ongoing for our students who have missed instructional time or not made the progress we'd like to see," Thomas said.
Albert Lea Area Schools is offering summer programming to students referred by their teachers. Summer school runs from June 7 through July 1 for four days a week.
Austin Public Schools is offering a similar program.
"At the elementary level, it's not really to get ahead, but it's more to maintain what you've been learning all year, so when you go back in the fall, you haven't had three months of no academic exposure," Michelle Baker, who co-leads Austin summer school, said.
Rebecca Deyo, who also leads the summer programming in Austin, said summer school is about more than just academics.
"Experiential learning and them being able to have those relationships back and getting to understand how we work together as a unit and as a family," Deyo said.
Even if a family can't enroll in summer school, there's lots of work that can be done at home.
"Provide those opportunities within your family. Do a lot of reading, going to the parks, nature walks, talk. That rich vocabulary is so important," Thomas said.
Rochester Public Schools' summer enrollment is already over for elementary school, and the district said middle and high school enrollment closes later this week.
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