A Flipped Summer of Learning
As our first year has drawn to a close, we have spent a lot of time looking back at all of the amazing progress that our scholars have made. We know that this summer is going to be a crucial time for our scholars to continue to develop their academic skills. Although some of our scholars who need a little extra support will be continuing their work with us directly in summer school, we have to ensure that all of the scholars in the RMP community are continuing to grow and learn throughout the year. The loss of learning and reading ability over the summer – known as ‘summer slide’– is one of the leading causes of the achievement gap between low income and high income students. Click here to see the effect that a summer of no reading can have on low incomes students. To address this challenge, we are implementing a “flipped” summer of learning to ensure that all of our scholars are working daily to continue their education.
Our Summer Learning Tools
Throughout the summer, our scholars will engage with their learning through a variety of different mediums. They will take full advantage of our online math program Dreambox, and our online reading program Raz-Kids. They will also be filling out a reading log at home with the traditional books that they will read with their families every day. This varied approach to learning will allow each of our scholars to spend at least one hour everyday improving their mathematics and literacy skills. The blended learning program and parental support will ensure that each student receives personalized and challenging work that challenges and empowers them every day. We are building a model similar to a ‘flipped classroom’ model, so scholars will work independently from home and then periodically meet with staff in one on one or small group meetings to enhance and deepen their learning.
We know that our families are our scholars’ most important teachers. To support them during summer, we are sending home an information packet to all of our families (check out a copy here). This packet includes directions and maps to local libraries, information on how and where to get a library card, their own reading log, and best practices that they can use when they with resources and tools to help their children learn. We are also showing our families what it looks like to use high leverage teaching strategies. We have created video examples to show our parents how to effectively push their children to build higher level thinking skills as they read. Check them out on our Youtube channel!
Summer Learning Goals
- One full step of growth on the STEP Reading Assessment, measured at the end of summer
- One full quarter of growth – 5 RIT points – on the NWEA MAPs Mathematics Exam, measured at the end of the summer
- 100% of scholars engaged for 1 hour a day and 5 days a week in a combination of online learning and traditional reading.
- 100% submission of completed reading logs at the end of summer
Why it matters
Amanuel is a Kindergarten scholar who this summer has the opportunity to travel to his parents’ home country, Ethiopia. His father Workie, who drives a cab here in Denver, is one of the hardest working individuals I know. He is committed to ensuring Amanuel has the opportunity to graduate from college and succeed in life. He is incredibly excited to share his homeland and culture with Amanuel for the first time. Through our new approach, Amanuel can remain up to speed with his academic learning, while he is in Ethiopia having the time of his six-year old life.
We don’t think that we have all or even most of the answers, but are excited to explore what works in ensuring students progress successfully over the summer. What ideas are we missing? Do you know anyone doing similar work? Please leave comments!
[This blog post was co-written by James Cryan & Michael Harbaugh. Michael is an alumnus of Teach For America, who currently lives in Denver and splits his time between Rocky Mountain Prep and Senator Mike Johnston’s office as an Urban Leaders Fellow.]