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Why summer school in California will prioritize fun and reconnecting students [edsource.org]

 

By Diana Lambert, EdSource, May 26, 2021

Merced County Office of Education students will hike through a wildlife preserve, fish in the Merced River and take sailing lessons from a local yacht club as part of this year’s summer school program. Elk Grove Unified students have the option to learn to act, sing or perform slam poetry. San Francisco students can take archery at a local park or classes in a high-rise downtown building that is usually home to tech workers.

Although school districts are still offering academic programs, summer school this year is supposed to be fun. Experts say schools won’t be able to combat learning loss until they deal with the social and emotional needs of children who have been away from their peers and teachers for more than a year and may have experienced other trauma during the pandemic.

“Our kids haven’t been on campuses,” said Erin Sipes, a program specialist with Elk Grove Unified, the state’s fifth-largest district. “Our kids don’t recognize their teachers in real life. Our kids haven’t had authentic experience sharing learning. We still can’t share materials, but we can get kids in person and give them the opportunity to have structured social interaction, let kids be kids and have authentic play.”

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