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Summer slide

By Staff | May 11, 2023

If there is one thing students of all ages look forward to, it’s summer.

Teachers, too, we suspect, though educators do see a down side — and it’s a steep one.

Call it summer slide, call it learning loss, call it what you will, students lose an estimated 2 to 2-1/2 months of learning — especially in reading and math — during the weeks they are out of school.

This is not a new thing.

But post-COVID and its months-long interruption of in-school instruction, and post-Ian with its weeks of disruption, our children are well behind the learning curve of where they should be.

Through no fault of their own.

Despite the efforts of Lee County’s teachers and the Lee County School District.

This year’s “numbers” — i.e. testing benchmarks — have not yet been released but we know where we were after the return to “normalcy” following COVID but before Hurricane Ian damaged numerous schools throughout the district, destroying two and forcing students to shuffle to new or temporary classrooms.

Those numbers were not good.

In fact, as we stated on these pages little more than a year ago, those numbers were abysmal.

According to pre-test numbers released last March by the School District of Lee County, 56 percent of second graders — kids who never got the benefit of a “normal” school year — were performing at a kindergarten level in reading basics.

Teachers had to start over fourth-quarter and teach kindergarten phonics to these struggling little guys because, as Teaching and Learning Director Dr. Bethany Quisenberry succinctly put it, “You need phonics to be able to read. What we are seeing with first and second grade students is they are still unable to read.”

What the district also saw was significant drops in the number of children who met grade-level goals in reading, math and other subjects.

The district recognizes that this may be another challenging year, not only in terms of new achievement scores, but for students who are trying their best, but are struggling.

For far too many, struggling hard.

Lee Schools is addressing the challenge with a wealth of opportunities that offers a concept well worth embracing: Summer school is for everyone.

The district is offering a variety of summer learning opportunities for students this year ranging from free Scholastic books for elementary schoolers to face-to-face camps to virtual options for make-good or enrichment.

All told, there are more than 30 camps and programs for students from pre-K through 12th grade.

They are taught by certified educators and offer “rigorous and engaging curriculum,” according to the school district website, leeschools.net.

The district urges parents to log onto their child’s student portal to check out what’s available.

We do as well.

In fact, we’ll throw in checking out the opportunities and programs at Lee County libraries as well.

Summer slide is real.

And here in Lee County it’s a hot-metal reality with a burn that can carry over into the next school year — and beyond.

Students do look forward to summer.

We, as parents, grandparents and guardians, can help make them look forward to some fun summer learning, too.

— Breeze editorial