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Virtual summer school to be available to all students K-8

By Staff | May 21, 2020

Think your elementary- or middle school- aged child could use a little help to prepare for next year?

The School District of Lee County has you covered.

The district has moved all of its traditional summer school programs to a virtual platform this year, while adding options for all students.

Teaching and Learning Director Dr. Bethany Quisenberry said the district will offer a kindergarten through eighth grade expanded virtual learning summer program, available to all of their students at all of the elementary and middle schools. The district notified families a week and a half ago through school messenger.

Parents are able to complete the document, sent through a Google form in Google Classroom, and opt in, or out for the Expanded Summer Virtual Learning Program. The choice is completely left to the family. The survey can be found at https://bit.ly/2WMjqNF .

The letter states “We continue to stay vigilant of the COVID 19 recommendations for the safety of our students and staff. In order to continue to put safety first, the decision has been made to move our summer programs to a virtual platform. We know that all of our students have the potential to regress academically during this time. Therefore, we are excited to offer an Expanded Virtual Learning Summer Program to all of our students in grades K-8. In an effort to continue our student learning with the least impact on our families, we will only be utilizing the iReady Program.”

As of Tuesday, there had been a little more than 11,000 students who have responded to the survey, with 8,000 students who have opted to take the summer program.

There is still time for families who have not yet opted in and would like to do so. The deadline is today, so the district can hire additional teachers if need be.

With that said, Quisenberry said the absolute latest is the last day of school, June 3.

Quisenberry said all of the students who opt in will then begin using the online platform iReady on June 15. iReady is a reading and math program. She said the student takes a diagnostic assessment, which then pushes out a learning path specific of the need of that student.

The diagnostic testing will take place on a scheduled day, which will be announced the last week of May, first week of June. The diagnostic will be completed in a distance learning setting.

The learning program will focus on 15 minutes of reading and 15 minutes of math each day of the summer program, Monday through Thursday, June 15, through July 16.

“It’s really low maintenance with a high impact,” Quisenberry said.

A teacher will be assigned to each student, who will monitor the program and the reports, as well as reach out to the students each week. She said the teacher will also provide some rewards when the student meets their minutes and passes lessons. In addition, the teacher will also provide intervention for any student that may be struggling.

“The teacher will reach out through Zoom, Google Hangout, or on the phone and coax the child through,” Quisenberry said, adding that academic intervention will be done through the virtual platform.

She said they are also hiring ESE resource teachers and there will be ELL support for the families as well to help work through the program for the summer.

Quisenberry said the summer programs will be a tremendous help for students, especially for those utilizing the individualized learning path due to the diagnostic testing. The learning path will show any areas that the student may have fallen behind on and fill some of those gaps throughout the summer, or keep the student in the same place without losing anything academically.

This summer will also include the normal summer program, credit retrieval, for eighth grade and 12th grade students, but on a virtual platform. This program is geared towards students who are already behind in credits and need to make some up.

The credit retrieval will be offered through Edgenuity.

“This will get them through credits, so they are able to go on to the next grade level and graduate on time,” Quisenberry said. “It’s important for seniors; even though technically graduation is through May, seniors have until the middle of July according to the state to have all of their credits.”

The students are able to work at their own pace for this summer school program Monday through Thursday from June 15, through July 16.

There also is a Lee Virtual Summer School Program. This is great for students who are not in need of credit recovery, but rather want to get ahead in a course, retake a course, or take a new course.

“That’s another option that we continue to provide in middle or high school,” Quisenberry said.

The program dates are Monday through Friday, June 8, through July 24. The student program hours are 150 minutes each day.

Quisenberry said the district recently made another decision to allow all students to keep their Chromebooks for the entire summer. She said even if students are not going to participate in the summer programs, they are still able to participate in some programs for additional learning.

Students will enjoy such things as videos on Brain Pop regarding reading, math and science after they click on a standard in one of the subject areas, as well as virtual field trips.

Compass is also available throughout the summer for ELA and math programs.

“We are hoping that through all of those options students will be able to continue learning,” Quisenberry said.