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When it comes to summer school, it’s not either-or, but both

  • Madison Schiefelbein
  • April 2, 2021

School leaders have a unique opportunity to make up valuable lost time — but they’ll have to act fast to make it happen.

That’s the opinion of Edward Clark, a professor and co-chair of a pediatric care organization that serves more than 200,000 children and their families. He recently noted that “school kids have fallen behind academically, lost essential social interaction and suffered emotional stress” during the pandemic.

What’s the best medicine? The doctor believes school leaders should keep schools open through the summer to serve students in need — a massive expansion of summer schooling aimed at recovering lost learning and providing a socially stabilizing force for millions of children.

While not every school district can make in-person summer school available to every student, many can — and should — expand online learning options. That’s because many students — including those with some learning disabilities — are actually thriving online.

But this isn’t an either-or proposition. Whether you expand your in-person options or increase your online options (or, in the best case scenario, both) you will be doing your students a world of good by making sure they have the opportunity to use this summer to catch up, retain hard-fought momentum, or simply take a class that keeps them engaged and interested in school as we all work together to continue to fight our way out of this global health crisis.