Screenshot of 11 people in hybrid meeting

Summer School Helps Some Students Catch Up

Screenshot of 11 people in hybrid meeting

The West Contra Costa school board got an update Wednesday on this year’s summer school programs. (Screenshot captured by Julia Métraux / The CC Pulse)

By Julia Métraux

With the academic year coming to a close, West Contra Costa Unified School District is putting its final touches on its summer school programs.

At Wednesday’s meeting, WCCUSD staff gave a presentation to school board members about summer school and extended school year programs. ESY is for students with disabilities on an individualized educational program, largely known an IEP.

“Students were invited to attend summer programming based on our districts’ prioritization matrix,” said Elizabeth Henry, the WCCUSD director of curriculum, instruction and assessment.

Prioritized groups in the district include students who are English language learners, those in foster care, and students who have struggled with academics and attendance. Elementary school programming offers a mix of enrichment opportunities, like field trips, with academics being optional. Secondary summer school is largely focused on helping students get caught up in academics for the following year. ESY programming is not focused on academic recovery but on helping students reach milestones outlined in their IEP.

All regular summer school programming will run from June 20 to July 20.

WCCUSD Communications Director Elizabeth Sanders said that case managers have been reaching out to the families of eligible students. If there is still availability, children who are not classified as having prioritization can also apply to enroll.

“Following the recruitment of prioritized families, we are going to centrally put out a summer program guide for all families,” Sanders said. “But again, we really want this to be a warm welcome that is personalized to the prioritized families.”

According to the Institute of Educational Sciences’ Regional Educational Laboratory Program, research has found that summer instruction reverses summer learning loss, helps achieve learning gains and gives struggling students more time to master skills they did not during the school year.

Gabriel Chilcott, another WCCUSD director, said elementary summer school programming would also include coaching to help students succeed in the future.

“[There] is targeted instruction, as well as strong professional development and coaching as well as tracking growth, growth data over the course of the summer,” said Chilcott.

The ESY program is optional for students on IEPs, and whether or not a student will participate is decided by the student’s IEP team, which traditionally includes a parent or caregiver. Parents have the option of opting out of ESY.

WCCUSD also has a CCEIS Summer Enrichment Camp that all students are eligible for, which runs from June 26 to July 20. (CCEIS stands for Comprehensive Coordinated Early Intervening Services.) The applications for the camp program, which serves students from transitional kindergarten through sixth grade, were due May 9.

​​Kasey Blackburn-Jiron, WCCUSD expanded learning coordinator, said her office has multiple goals with this summer enrichment camp program.

“The first goal is to increase opportunity, access and utilization of summer program options for our children and families,” said Blackburn-Jiron. “Secondly, we partner internally with school sites in different departments to provide families with full day summer learning options whenever possible.”

The next regular school board meeting is June 7.

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