Common Core State Standards (CCSS) have necessitated a change in the way students are being taught and how classrooms are structured. It has been reported that 20-30 hours of instructional time is lost due to mandated testing nationwide. As a result, schools need to be able to utilize their calendars after testing to not only introduce students to upcoming content for the next year, but also reinforce the skills that students are expected to have mastered for the current year.
It is now becoming imperative that students advance to the next grade level with all the necessary prerequisite skills for the current grade’s instruction as there is no longer time to review material from the previous year. With many schools ending testing by the first week of April, there is often 8-10 weeks of the school year left to accomplish these goals. As if the demanding curriculum was not enough, it is said that about 1 to 3 months of learning loss occurs over the summer break. Schools need to find ways to not only prepare their students for the course work material to come, but also help them retain the information that they have learned throughout the school year.
Though it may be difficult finding summer programs/camps that enrich students' minds, there are a ways in which these goals can be achieved:
- During the 8-10 weeks after testing, introduce basic concepts students will be seeing in the next school year that specifically build on the current year’s skills
- Differentiate instruction by reinforcing the current year’s concepts that need further instructional time for some students so they will be prepared for the next year
- Suggest summer practice resources that students can review during the school break that will help them retain the concepts
- Get parents involved in student learning over the summer
- Assign practice material that students can complete over the break
Teachers and parents can work together in order to ensure that students are prepared for the year to come and are able to retain the information they have just learned. With hundreds of websites and educational supplements dedicated to academic excellence, and several geared towards the understanding of the CCSS, there are many avenues to help keep your students on the right track.