Summer school comes with changes to re-engage students, who fell behind


SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The pandemic made this school year challenging whether students learned in the classroom or at home.

Now, kids are getting excited about the last day of school is right around the corner! However, some students will be spending part of the summer catching up.

The district is expecting 3 times as many students to attend summer school than normal. That’s about 1,500 students from kindergarten through twelve grade.

Last year, there was no summer school because of the health crisis but on average 300-500 students enroll every summer.

Robert Fitzgerald is the Summer Education Program Coordinator for the Junior High School students. He says this is an opportunity to re-engage students and recover any credit loss throughout the year.

He says they are steering away from the Chromebook and classes will be in-person 5 days a week. For the first time, summer school will include arts, music and physical education.

“Students have some deficits and that is okay… Deficits are everywhere. They are not just here in Northwest Arkansas. We want our students to be prepared for this next year. It’s not really a summer school but a summer school enrichment experience,” said Fitzgerald.

Also new for junior high students is the addition of guest speakers and educational field trips throughout the summer.

Fitzgerald adds that the focus is always going to be on education but they want students to have fun this summer and be excited about school again.

“We are going to tour NTI, there’s an educational purpose there, we are going to walk the U of A campus, there’s an educational purpose there… because some of these kids have never experienced a collegiate or alternate college experience at all. So this is very exciting for us,” said Fitzgerald.

He says they partnered with several museums and universities to take students outside of the classroom where they can get a more personalized and enhanced learning experience.

He adds only students doing well during the program will be able to attend the weekly field trips

His message to students is that there is still time to finish strong

Face coverings will be optional for students in the summer education program

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