Potential for steep 'summer slide' spurs Grandview Heights Schools' guide to resources

ALAN FROMAN
afroman@thisweeknews.com
ThisWeek group

When the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic led to Ohio's schools closing their doors in March, districts across the state were forced to develop a plan for remote learning on the fly.

Grandview Heights Schools leaders and staff immediately began thinking beyond the current school year, developing a set of distance-learning guidelines that families would be able to use during the summer months.

"The research is unambiguous that regression happens during the summer every year, even in normal times," said Jamie Lusher, the district's chief academic officer.

That research also shows the "summer slide" can be minimized or avoided if students stay engaged in reading, writing and learning during their break from school, she said.

The concern is that, this year, after an unprecedented situation in which students finished the last eight weeks of school in an online learning environment, the potential for a regression during the summer will be enhanced, Lusher said.

"Usually, there are a wide range of summer camp and enrichment opportunities available for students during the summer," she said.

In recent years, the district has held a summer enrichment expo, offering parents and students information and resources from community organizations about the programs they offer during the summer.

This year, most summer programs have been canceled or curtailed.

"We haven't had a summer like this before," Lusher said. "We wanted to come up with some guidelines and a plan families could use so that students will stay involved in learning over the summer."

Grandview has provided families and students with a website offering links to a variety of online resources and activities relating to reading, writing, math, humanities and arts. A link also connects families to resources offered by community organizations, including the Grandview Heights and Columbus Metropolitan libraries, WOSU-TV and the Columbus Museum of Art.

The Grandview Heights Public Library and WOSU are serving as partners in the distance-learning plan, and access to additional resources will be available over the summer at wosu.org/classroom and ghpl.org, Lusher said.

Each category on the website is organized into grades K-5, 6-8 and 9-12 age groups.

The district's distance-learning plan also offers families a suggested guideline they can use during the summer so students stay active physically and mentally.

"Exercising their brain is just as important as staying physically active," Lusher said.

The guidelines include having students engage in 60 minutes of movement, 30 minutes of reading, 20 minutes of math and 20 minutes of writing three or four days a week, she said.

Students also are encouraged to devote time to a passion project and research a topic they are curious about.

"We are excited about providing resources and targeted learning for our students through the summer months," Superintendent Andy Culp said. "This is important to our stated mission of maximizing and personalizing every student's learning.

"Additionally, it is important to maintain learning through the summer months to help mitigate regression in these unprecedented times," he said.

District officials are putting together initial plans for the upcoming school year, no matter what that might look like, Lusher said.

"There's three basic scenarios: Either we'll open in the fall in the traditional manner; we'll continue with remote learning; or there will be a hybrid that will combine elements of both," she said.

"Whichever way it is, we'll be prepared."

afroman@thisweeknews.com

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