In this Feb. 2019 photo, students wait for rides outside Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.At Kale. Classes will be in session this summer with programs focused on credit recovery for high school students. Children in lower grades will focus on overall learning recovery after COVID-19 upended the traditional school year and process, by forcing a suspension in in-person learning. (Michael Penn /Juneau Empire File)

In this Feb. 2019 photo, students wait for rides outside Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.At Kale. Classes will be in session this summer with programs focused on credit recovery for high school students. Children in lower grades will focus on overall learning recovery after COVID-19 upended the traditional school year and process, by forcing a suspension in in-person learning. (Michael Penn /Juneau Empire File)

Summer break to include school for some Juneau students

School’s in for summer.

School will be in session this summer for some of Juneau’s students.

Juneau School District officials are preparing for two, primarily in-person summer school sessions to help with learning recovery and enrichment.

“The need is great,” said Bridgette Weiss, superintendent of Juneau schools, in a phone interview Friday morning. “We want to help our students recover and rebuild lost learning from the last 12 months. We want to offer a robust summer school program to help students academically, socially and emotionally,” she said.

COVID-19 forced an unexpected end to academics last March and prevented a typical summer school session during the summer of 2020.

That abrupt end, coupled with the current school year’s mix of distance and hybrid learning, has school officials worried about learning loss. There’s a particular concern for students in “transition grades,” such as incoming kindergarten students and those transitioning from middle school to high school.

Lower COVID numbers mean more school options for Juneau students

Weiss noted that students in this year’s freshman class were less prepared to start high school than previous cohorts, as they missed the final stretch of eighth grade and spent all of the first semester participating in distance learning.

Final plans expected soon

Although the district is finalizing plans, officials expect two summer sessions — one in June and one in July. Classes are expected to run Monday through Thursday for four hours each day.

Classes will be available at all levels, including middle school, which has historically not offered summer school.

Transportation services will be available this summer, though it is not generally provided for summer school.

Weiss said that the district is the last phase of the process to recruit teachers for the session and finalize food service and transportation plans. She expects parents will learn more about specific summer school program options in the next two weeks.

Schools to reopen to students on Monday

More students expected

School officials are expecting higher attendance compared to past summers.

“We believe that the total number of students will be much larger,” said Ted Wilson, director of teacher and learning support for the district in a Friday morning phone interview. “But, we also know everyone is exhausted,” he added.

Wilson said they expect about 220 elementary students, compared to the 80 enrolled in an average year. He also expects 70-80 middle school students and 70 high school students, which is about double the enrollment during a typical summer session.

“High school students will be focused on credit recovery,” Wilson said. He added that seniors would be given priority in the June session to complete any outstanding graduation requirements.

Interested?

Parents interested in summer school are encouraged to contact their’s child’s teacher and look out for the application.

“If your student is behind in reading or math, apply and contact your teacher,” Weis said.

Wilson reinforced the importance of attending summer school each day. “It’s a short session. It’s important to be there for each day,” he said.

Contact reporter Dana Zigmund at dana.zigmund@juneauempire.com or 907-308-4891.

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