Director of Pupil Personnel Services Update June 3, 2020
Dear Parents and Community Members,
As we approach the time of year whereby the calendar transitions to summer and the regular school year comes to a close we may become concerned about continuing the learning process for our children. As stated by the U.S. Department of Education, “Summer learning loss can occur and happens when children do not engage in educational activities during the summer months” (https://blog.ed.gov/2014/03/stopping-the-summer-slide/). When students return to school after summer break, there is an expectation that they may have lost some of the knowledge that they gained the previous school year. This phenomenon is known as summer learning loss, or the summer slide. A student’s exposure to educational activities isn’t usually as rigorous during the summer as it is in the classroom, and some students may need a refresher at the beginning of the new school year. In addition, having lost real time in school at the due to the COVID-19 school closure certainly adds to this learning “slide.”
The following information is taken from several resources such as Waterford.org, Scholastic, and the U.S. Department of Education (https://www.waterford.org/education/summer-slide-and-educational-inequality/; https://www.scholastic.com/parents/books-and-reading/raise-a-reader-blog/summer-slide.html) and focuses on supporting students through summer in order to promote active learning during the summer months. These ideas and activities for elementary and middle school students may provide some support for our children to promote learning and keep up foundational skills.
- Visit the Island Park local library website: https://www.islandparklibrary.org/. Even though the library is currently closed, there are many ways to bring our library into your home using the library’s online digital resources. You may use your library card to access these resources. If you do not have a card, you can apply for one on the website.
- Prepare for and complete the Summer Reading Challenge through F.X. Hegarty Elementary School or Lincoln Orens Middle School. This year, the Island Park Schools will be initiating the Summer Reading Challenge. This is a “reading race,” whereby children will be invited to log reading minutes throughout the summer. Students will be recognized when we return to school in September. A letter from your child’s teacher will arrive in the next week to explain this, which will also include a list of available resources for digital books and writing activities.
- Continue to make use of the enrichment activities posted on teacher webpages. These resources will be archived throughout the summer months.
- Some of the best resources can be free. Click on these hyperlinks to access free book and audiobook resources such as Project Gutenbergor Audible Stories.
- Journaling can be a useful way for students to practice writing when they’re not in school. Use a notebook for journaling. Parents may wish to talk with their children about their writing. This provides an opportunity to engage in healthy conversation and promotes thinking by means of the writing process.
- Make time for smart play. Games, puzzles, and arts and crafts are a great way for children to brush up on the basics while having fun at the same time. Think outside the box with arts and crafts. Sites such NGA Kidshave great ideas that will let any child’s imagination run wild and stimulate creativity. The NGAkids Art Zone app contains eight interactive activities inspired by works in the collection of the National Gallery of Art, plus a sketchbook for freehand drawing and a personal exhibition space where users can save and display art created with the program. Click on the following link to share out a list of math games you can play with just a deck of cards to practice math skills. (https://www.weareteachers.com/math-card-games/)
- Get out of the house if local rules and regulations allow and it is safe to do so. Experts have found that novelty stimulates the brain and promotes learning. If open and available for visitors as pandemic reopening phases occur, visiting a historic site or even simply reading together at the park can help your child get more excited about reading and learning.
- Parents may wish to spend some time on teaching healthy eating habits. Ideas for tasty and nutritious meals can be found at Let’s Move!and kidshealth.org.
It is my sincere hope that you find some or all of the above resources useful. As always, it is important to stay in contact with the school. Please stay updated by frequently checking the District website for information about planning for the start of school in September. If you have further questions about the summer reading program, please contact your child’s teacher. Finally, thank you for your cooperation and dedication during this challenging time. As always, the Pupil Personnel Office may be contacted at 516-434-2620.
Director of Pupil Personnel Services
Island Park UFSD