In my previous post, Summer School:It’s More Than Just The Grades, I discussed the process of selecting and implementing a vision for our Summer School. Out goal was to provide more than just academic remediation but to also focus on the root cause of why they were in Summer School. I feel that the approach we were able to take allowed us to provide both academics and motivational interventions.
The academic core of the program was the Exact Path program through Edmentum. The students pent between 45 minutes to an hour each day working through their path based on the results of the Diagnostic Assessment. Over the course of the summer, we saw gains in both Language Arts and Math. In my next post I will break down the results as the kids are finishing up their final Diagnostic Assessments this week.
In terms of their progress with the motivation progress, students reported that they feel more confident going into next year. They identified areas they struggle with in the social realm of middle school such as other students (even friends) distracting them, as well as not doing basic assignments. When prompted about this the kids shared with us that their friends do not always support them in their quest to get good grades. They realized that this is something they will need to really focus on as they move onto the next grade level.
As for their reluctance to do basic assignments, the students reported that they sometimes do not see the relevance or have difficulty connecting with the work. Many students said that their teachers were willing to accept late work or would allow them to redo assignments but that they chose not to.
We asked them what message they would send to next year’s students who could potentially go to summer school, and here are some of their responses:
- You have to try harder
- You have to set goals for yourself
- You need to develop a Growth Mindset for school and learn as much as you can
- The teachers are willing to help if you just ask them
- Keep reminding your friends that you need to do good in school and not to fool around in class
So in a few short weeks the students were able to evaluate where they were and set goals for their future. In their culminating activity (due this week) the students have to submit a final essay on why they feel they should be promoted to the next grade level. We hope that these essays can be shared with the teachers when they return in the fall. The students worked hard and I feel that all of us involved with the Summer School have such high hopes for their continued success in the future!
About The Author
Spike Cook, Ed.D., Principal, Lakeside Middle School, Millville, NJ. In addition to being a Principal, Dr. Cook published two books through Corwin Press (Connected Leadership:It’s Just a Click Away; Breaking Out of Isolation: Becoming a Connected School Leader). He is the co-host of the popular PrincipaPLN podcast and his blog, Insights Into Learning, was recognized as a finalist for Best Administrator Blog by the EduBlog Awards. Spike earned his Doctorate from Rowan University and is featured in their Alumni Spotlight. Connect with @drspikecook via Twitter.