Shoreline School District 2015 Summer School Review

Thursday, November 5, 2015

By Marianne Deal Stephens

At the October 26, 2015 Shoreline School Board Meeting, Director of Categorical Programs Ellen Kaje and Secondary Summer School Principal Rebbecah Emanuel reviewed the recent programs. Funding for summer school comes from:
  • established federal and state programs like Title I, ELL (English Language Learner), and LAP (Learning Assistance Program); 
  • student fees;
  • donations and grants from the Shoreline Public Schools Foundation and foundry10.

Dr. Kaje discussed the Elementary Summer School Program, which was held at Parkwood in July 2015 for 3 hours/ day for four weeks. The program served 215 students: 152 in the K-3 Reading Program, 40 in the 4-6 Math Program, and 23 in the ELL program. K-3 students were asked to participate based on their “intensive” needs in reading. [Note: some elementary assessments use four categories to help educators determine how to best address student needs. The categories are: intensive, strategic, benchmark, and advanced. For further explanation, see this Consortium on Reading Excellence Briefing Paper.]

K-2 students received small group reading instruction, while 3rd grade students had similar instruction plus an hour of Dramatic Arts. The literature-based Dramatic Arts program showcased the enjoyment of reading and helped develop reading and listening skills. Foundry10 provided instructors for this portion of the program, which seemed to boost turnout. Assessments at the end of the summer school intervention indicate a boost in student achievement. 

Of the 3rd grade summer school participants, 30% met benchmark, a marked increase over 2014, when only 12% of summer 3rd graders met benchmarks at the end of the program. Dr. Kaje attributed the difference to the Dramatic Arts program.

The grade 4-6 students, all who had “strategic” needs in math, received instruction based on Common Core math standards. [Note: strategic is the second category of learning achievement, above “intensive” and below “benchmark” and “advanced”. Dr. Kaje explained that the 20 days of the summer program is not an effective format to meet the needs of intensive learners.]

The ELL program had both social studies and science units, and integrated “GLAD” professional development for teachers. GLAD strategies—GLAD stands for Guided Language Acquisition Design— promote language acquisition, academic achievement, and cross-cultural skills.

Secondary Summer School Principal (and Current Einstein Assistant Principal) Rebbecah Emanuel discussed the 2015 secondary program. Students in grades 7-12 participated in a several options.
  • 49 Students in Math Support classes
  • 57 Students in Reading Support classes
  • 148 Students in Apex Credit Recovery courses
  • 59 Students in Shoreline Virtual Learning courses (most in PE and math) 
Principal Emanuel explained that in the spring, counselors identified students who would benefit from the opportunities and families were invited to participate. In the past, attendance had been a problem, but this year, the staff and students created a culture that encouraged attendance. Only one student who began the program did not continue.

Two students shared about their summer school experiences. Senior Ronnie Gary was not required to enroll, but chose to take a math course to raise his GPA. The best things about summer school were that he had more one-on-one time with the teacher, and he was more prepared for his current math class. The worst thing was that the time seemed long [the summer school day is 4 hours, and many students take one class], and that some of his friends were on vacation.

8th Grader Fraol Debele came to Shoreline from Ethiopia two years ago. She described how she “was nervous on the first day” but got used to summer school and enjoyed it, especially hanging out with friends from other countries during breaks. She got an “A” in her reading class and would recommend the experience to other students: “It will raise your grade.”


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