Summer School

Summer school programs across the southwest metro area will have a different look to them in 2020. Some will remain with distance learning, some will use a hybrid method with half in-school instruction.

Summer school will look a bit different over the next two months across local school districts south and north of the Minnesota River.

Some districts are welcoming students back into buildings, some are pausing that decision until fall.

A recent update by the Minnesota Department of Education and the Department of Health have allowed school districts to provide summer school services on-site in schools with restrictions.

Guidelines for districts include communication to families, which include what strategies will be implemented to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 exposure in the summer program community, and acknowledge that strategies may change if the level of community transmission increases to the point where programming must be disrupted.

Districts must adhere to promote safe program environment.

  • Adapt practices to allow physical distancing of at least 6 feet whenever possible.
  • Try to adhere to a staff (or volunteer) to participant ratio of 1:9. If social distancing cannot be attained with the group size, then the number of participants must be reduced.
  • Whenever possible, implement programming that refrains from intermixing pods.
  • Wherever possible, hold activities outdoors and encourage participants to spread out.
  • Have a plan for back-up staffing in case a staff member or volunteer becomes ill during the day/program.

"With the guidance by MDE and MDH we will be providing a hybrid model for summer school programming. In the summer of 2020, Jordan Public Schools will provide an alternating day of service to receive summer school," said Chad Williams, Director of Special Services for Jordan Public Schools.

For nearby Shakopee, the timing of the update from state officials did not allow them enough time to change course and allow some in-person instruction.

"We usually start planning for summer programming in January," said Eric Serbus, Summer School administrator for Shakopee Public Schools and Tokata Learning Center Principal. "Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we had to delay planning until we received further guidance from the Minnesota Department of Education. Taking into consideration current health and safety concerns of students and staff, as well as the logistical challenges of offering on-site programming under current guidelines, we made the decision to offer summer programs to students via distance learning.”

Eastern Carver County Schools, which serves Chanhassen, Chaska, Carver, and Victoria, will also remain at a distance with its summer school plans, which includes partnering with Breakthrough Twin Cities, a nonprofit college access program, for additional summer enrichment learning.

"This is the first summer of the partnership, which starts with (students heading into) seventh grade," said ECCS Communications Director Celi Haga. "The students will attend a multiple-week academic summer program that helps them prepare for the following school year. They will take classes in literature, science, math, and writing along with electives."

SHAKOPEE

Shakopee Public Schools will offer two programs to students this summer: Summer High School Credit Recovery Program and Summer Targeted Services Academy.

The 2020 Shakopee High School Summer Credit Recovery Program, for students in grades 9-12, is an opportunity for students to recover required academic credits that were failed during the school year. To ensure the safety of students and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, the High School Summer School Credit Recovery Program will be facilitated online this year.

Courses will be facilitated by licensed teachers using APEX, a self-paced digital curriculum software. The program will start June 22, and last for four weeks. As of June 1, more than 200 students had registered.

The Summer Targeted Services Academy Program, for first through eighth grade students, will be conducted via distance learning as well. The program is only for students who meet criteria and have been recommended by building staff.

The Summer Academy will be STEM-focused and is designed to keep students engaged in learning during the summer. Each day students will participate in a daily, live (synchronous) workshop with a teacher based on an exciting science topic. Students will then continue their learning offline as they explore, research, and build foundational academic and school skills through independent activities.

Two sessions will be offered during the summer. The first will be offered July 13-24. The second session will run July 27-Aug. 7.

PRIOR LAKE-SAVAGE AREA

Kristi Mussman, director of Communications for Prior Lake-Savage Area Schools, said the summer of 2020 will look much different in some areas, but similar to past years in other areas.

Among the canceled are all Community Education in-person programs and classes through June 30. This includes all youth and adult classes. Some classes are being rescheduled.

Registration for Summer Credit Recovery and Summer Independent Study is now open. Access the following link for more information: www.priorlake-savage.k12.mn.us/our-schools/bridges-area-learning.

Summer school will begin Monday, June 8​​ and end Friday, July 3​​. There will be three class sessions available each being two hours. Sessions start at 7:30, 9:40 and 11:50 a.m. Students will be placed in groups following a schedule where they are at Bridges every other day and signing into classes outside of school days they are not at Bridges.

Summer Academy, for students entering grades 1-8, is available only to students who meet criteria and have been recommended by their classroom teacher. For more information, contact the child's classroom teacher (elementary) or guidance counselor (middle school).

Special Education extended school year will be offered in a distance learning format from June 6-25.

Additionally, Kids' Company Summer Child Care (ages four to grade five will be offered Wednesday, June 10 through Friday, August 21, 2020. Summer child care aligns with guidelines and direction from the MDE and MDH and the Centers for Disease Control regarding COVID-19.

JORDAN

Jordan Public Schools will be offering a hybrid summer school program as well. Students will be broken into two groups. Each student will receive up to eight alternating days of summer school services on-site and eight alternating days of school remotely online on the day(s) they are not in school.

School hours/days may vary based on the need of the summer school program.

Chad Williams said summer programming and services may include: Extended School Year, Targeted Services/Credit Recovery, Kids Company, and Community Education Classes. All will take place in the month of July.

"Administration took everything we learned from our time providing distance learning and decided to go with the Hybrid Model and still work with students online for those who are unable to participate in the school setting due to any reasons (medical, etc.)," he said.

EASTERN CARVER COUNTY

Eastern Carver County Schools will not be offering in-person summer school this year. Though a number of opportunities for students to continue their learning over the summer do exist.

High school credit recovery, for grades 9-12, is a program that provides students the opportunity to attain academic credit. It will be delivered in a distance learning format and students will complete their needed course/credit online.

Elementary and middle school monthly learning plans is a program that will support students in foundational reading and math learning. These plans for summer at-home learning engagement will be developed by ECCS teachers and sent home throughout the summer and posted on the district's website.

The program will engage students in learning that include reading, hands-on-activities, and Chromebook-based web tools.

Other available programs are extended school year opportunities for Specialized Service Department, while community education also will offer its Celebrate Summer program. It is an in-person enrichment learning opportunity for students hosted within the community.

BURNSVILLE-EAGAN-SAVAGE

Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District summer programs will be a mix of live Zoom and in-person classes Monday through Thursday over the next several weeks, according to the district's website. The rundown and contact information for the different levels of programs can be found at isd191.org/summer-programming-2020.

Students in kindergarten through fifth grade, for example, can attend two hour-long, project-based Zoom classes starting July 6. Classes might cover science experiments or math games, among other activities. 

The Summer STEM Academy for eighth-graders, which covers several subjects for some high school credit, will also run over Zoom.

Sixth- and seventh-graders, on the other hand, can attend classes that will include 15 or fewer students.  

High-schoolers working for credit recovery over the summer will start June 15; those interested should reach their counselor or call 612-470-2575 for more information, according to the district. 

Dan Holtmeyer contributed to this report. 

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