About 150 students took an opportunity this summer to take their learning to a high level. As part of the Lynden School District summer school from June 27 through July 28, led by principal Patrick McClure, the students who had just finished preschool through seventh grade took the opportunity to close learning gaps, primarily in math and literacy.
The invitation-only school held at Bernice Vossbeck Elementary School was designed to create a slightly different learning environment with smaller class sizes and more one-on-one time with teachers.
“Everybody could use a little more learning in the summer, but there are kids who really need more support to close some gaps from the previous year and build some confidence and skills.”
McClure says the smaller class size—each classroom features a teacher and a paraeducator—allows for more direct support for each individual student, whether in small groups or one-on-one.
To mix up the style of learning slightly, the classes also include game-like and project-based learning. “The rhythm is kind of different from the regular year and allows them to really dig into some deeper understanding to make sure they get foundational skills,” McClure says.
Another added bonus for the summer school comes in the form of technology. All the third through seventh grade classrooms have a cart of laptops available in their class, which lets teachers use web-based tools for literacy, math, math games and also unique opportunities for students learning English. Students in second grade and down used the computer lab on a regular basis for letter recognition and math time.
“Every class has daily tech access structured through the class,” McClure says. “It helps to further meet individual needs and engage students.”
During the regular school years students have access to the same technology, but summer school allows for that tech immersion every day.
To also further literacy, the Lynden summer school partnered with the Whatcom County Library System. The children and teen librarian hosted the students at the Lynden Library for a tour, to ensure each student had a library card and offer a chance for students to look through the bevy of books. Librarians also came to the school throughout the summer for book talks, hyping literacy and finding books that excite students.
With all the personalized attention, students in summer school took a month of Mondays through Thursdays to find a new learning rhythm, one teachers hope carries into the upcoming school year.
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