Wisconsin school leaders look to summer school to help with academic and social needs

Posted at 5:59 PM, Mar 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-09 18:59:06-05

In a year when Wisconsin schools faced complex decisions to keep students learning, some are encouraging summer school to help make up for education that was lost during the pandemic.

Brown Deer school administrators were scheduled to discuss their summer program with the school board on Tuesday night.

"To be able to answer questions, get the data and to be able to come up with dates, and be able to put all those things together so that our families know exactly when summer school is going to happen and what the expectations are," said Todd Beadle, Brown Deer's school board president.

Beadle said he is promoting summer school even more this year to help students with academics and beyond.

"Because we want to be able to ensure they are getting all of the educational enrichment, they are receiving the social-emotional. We're ensuring that they're going to have breakfast and lunch and to be able to help out with other needs as well," said Beadle.

Some school districts we heard from, like Shorewood and Menomonee Falls, said they have not seen a significant change in student academic performance, and they do not expect a big change in summer enrollment.

In an email, a spokesperson for the School District of Menomonee Falls said so far students are performing within normal fluctuation. The district is planning for a typical summer enrollment of 1,500 students.

The Shorewood School District's director of curriculum and instruction said students' academic data does not suggest a significant need to increase capacity for summer school.

However, the district noted there may be more interest in summer learning this year to address academic and social needs. In recent years, the district has limited summer school enrollment and invited students based on need. But given the last year, it is likely capacity will be increased. Planning for summer school remained ongoing, with details expected in the coming weeks.

Racine Unified School District did not have exact statistics on hand, but reported a higher percentage of failure rates in the high schools.

As they prepare to open summer school registration on Friday, a district spokesperson said they are planning for the possibility they see an extra 500 students sign up.

Back in Brown Deer, Beadle was optimistic summer learning can make a difference after this last year.

"Summer school is a way to be able to start to close more of that achievement gap, as well as to be able to provide social-emotional support for our students during this time and being able to go from there and get a jumpstart on our upcoming school year," said Beadle.

Beadle said from talking with neighbors and families, he believes Brown Deer will see a rise in students attending summer school.

The Brown Deer School Board meets Tuesday night at 6 p.m.

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