Over a year into the pandemic and we are still seeing COVID-19 impact on education. School districts now faced with summer vacation, where students can lose up to 3 months of what they learned during the school year, on top of the curriculum delays due to COVID-19 and the winter storm.
The last school bell of the 2020-21 school year. Music to everyone’s ears and a sigh of relief, but the real work begins now to repair what Rick Beaule, President, Killeen Educators Association calls a learning delay.
Beaule said, “Every student and every educator have been impacted by COVID-19. Loss indicates permanence. So, it's more of a delay or more of an obstacle than it is a loss.”
Copperas Cove ISD is hitting the ground running, tackling this issue head-on. Amanda Crawley, the Deputy Superintendent of Instructional Services CCISD said the district wanted to extend as many summer programs and summer camps as they possibly could provide this summer to make up for learning loss they know took place.
Crawley said, “We know we lost a lot when we lost that time due to COVID. And so, our goal is always to make sure kids have what they need and that they're excited to be here.”
She said, the district is offering transportation and amping up their summer program to include a variety of educational camps for students who need a little extra help or just want to get ahead.
“We're trying to kind of remove all the barriers for parents to get their kids involved in camps, summer learning opportunities, and if they needed to recover credits or learning loss due to school failure, they can do that as well,” Crawley said. “We're offering academic camps, we usually offer a range of reading camps, we are offering that again this year. We've also extended to offer math camp. It's a DIY, diverse, independent youth math camp and they're making all sorts of things and doing lots of hands-on math activities and then we're doing a STEM camp.”
Temple ISD has a similar plan already in motion. Dr. Lisa Adams, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction with TISD said the district knows there have been some learning delays due to COVID-19 and the winter storm. It’s something they have been working to address since last fall.
“We'll still have some work to do next year, you know, to continue to recover that learning. But we're on the right path. You know, we want to make sure that kids remember why it's fun to be at school. And it's fun to learn. We also wanted to encourage all of our students to participate and do it in a creative and fun way,” said Adams.
Credit recovery efforts are already in place for their high school students, and a new optional opportunity called Camp Extra is designed to extended time to recover and accelerate their students forward.
Dr. Adams said, “Camp extra will be kind of a thematic unit. If you think about it, one of our campuses is using survivor as their theme. And kiddos will get to go through rotations will have the focus on math and reading skills. But we might embed that into cooking or robotics. We’re making sure that there are movement and social-emotional components as well. Because some of our kiddos, you know, need that support, not just academic support.”
Temple ISD’s camp extra is extending the school year by two weeks and already had about 400 elementary students signed up, set to kick off on June 14th. Meanwhile, Copperas Cove ISD’s has already kicked off its summer enrichment camps. Both districts said they are grateful for their teachers and staff who will be cutting their summer short to lend a helping hand.