Summer school will look a bit different over the next two months across local school districts.
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 allows school districts to provide summer school services on-site in schools with restrictions.
Guidelines for districts include communication to families, that include which 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.
"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."
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.
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.
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.
The Jordan School Board unanimously approved a contract with an interim superintendent candidate during its regular meeting Monday night, filling an upcoming hole left by Superintendent Matt Helgerson.
Ranae Case Evenson, who currently works as the director of elementary curriculum at Anoka-Hennepin School District, was approved by the board to step in as an interim superintendent while the district searches for Helgerson’s permanent replacement. The one-year contract begins July 1.
Helgerson announced in May he was leaving his position for a job in the private sector. Soon after, the board decided to fill the superintendent vacancy with a temporary replacement after it was deemed difficult to complete a comprehensive job search by July 1.
Case Evenson’s duties will include leading administration of the schools, under the direction of the school board and she’ll serve as the chief executive officer of the school district. Her contract includes a salary of $150,500, a cell phone provided and paid for by the school district, a $200 monthly vehicle allowance and eligibility to enroll in a tax-sheltered annuity plan. Evenson would also be eligible for health and hospitialization, dental, life and disability insurance.
Case Evenson served as an elementary principal for nine years prior her current role at Anoka-Hennepin. She was the principal of Wilson Elementary School for three years and Eisenhower Elementary for one year in that district, according to information from Jordan Public Schools. She was also principal of Horace May Elementary and early intervention programs in Bemidji for two years and an elementary principal in Springfield for three years.
Case Evenson was a teacher for nine years prior to becoming a school administrator, teaching at the elementary, early childhood, and middle school levels. Ranae taught sixth and seventh grades in Jordan from 2002-2006, and she completed a portion of her superintendent internship in Jordan in 2015.
“It is really exciting to come full circle and be back supporting students and families in the Jordan community,” Case Evenson said in a statement. “I have always stayed connected to the Jordan school community in some way, whether it be through former colleagues and families or following the innovative programming and facilities transformations. Jordan has incredible staff, students and families; and, it is such an honor to serve as interim superintendent in this unique time.”
The school board also heard proposals from three superintendent search firms Monday: South Central Search Cooperative, Minnesota School Board Association and School Exec Connect.
Helgerson’s resignation was acknowledged by school board members Monday.
“It’s been a pleasure to serve the district and the students,” Helgerson said, adding he’s worked beside an “amazing school board” and a “tremendous team” and attributed much of the district’s accomplishments to them.
“It has been a great ride, we did a lot of great things,” he said.
School board members praised Helgerson for being a visionary and successfully implemeting big ideas in Jordan. His last day is June 30.