District 105 ranks among the top districts in the country based on the progress students make in reading and math from the beginning to the end of each school year.
However, in a district study conducted in 2010, we found that our student gains in math and reading during the school year were being offset by significant summer losses in reading and math achievement. These losses affected students of all demographic and achievement backgrounds. Summer learning loss results in the loss of precious instructional time and resources in the fall as teachers delay the introduction of new concepts and skills because they must help students regain previous achievement levels.
Based on our District 105 findings about summer learning loss, the district cut back the traditional summer school program which focused on remediation and implemented the Summer Connect Program in 2011. The Summer Connect Program is a unique summer learning approach offered to all District 105 students, regardless of age or achievement levels.
The program is designed to keep students involved with math and reading throughout the summer by pairing them with a District 105 teacher who facilitates individualized learning activities. Teachers connect with their students through technology to guide their selection of appropriate books, and monitor their reading logs and progress on the online instructional math program. The Connect teachers also meet with their students face-to-face seven to nine times over the summer to review the overall learning experience. A total of 460 students and 30 educators will participate in the program this summer, which began on June 10 and ends Aug. 9.
The results from our changes in summer programming and district-wide attention to summer learning loss have been quite impressive. In the first two years of implementation, we have realized an approximately 25 percent reduction in the number of students who experience summer learning loss as measured by their spring and fall assessments. These exciting gains promise to boost overall student math and reading achievement.
Glenn Schlichting is the superintendent of School District 105