Woodland offers summer school to recover lost credits

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Woodland Public Schools delegated COVID-19 funds to provide three weeks of summer school for students of all grades.

Some students struggled with remote learning during the pandemic, so the summer classes worked on fundamental skills while recovering potentially lost credits, according to a news release.

The district also used title funds to cover costs, stated the release.

A total of 144 students participated in summer school this year, including 61 elementary-aged children in first through fourth grades, 39 middle schoolers in fifth through eighth grades, and 44 high school students in grades nine through 12.

Elementary students focused on foundational reading skills during summer school.

“We invited all of our incoming first graders along with some students from the higher grades,” said Denise Pearl, North Fork Elementary School principal. “Developing strong reading skills is integral for our younger students  and we knew from assessing last year’s kindergartners that they could use additional support before this fall.”

Pearl offered to serve as principal for the K-12 summer school program.

During summer school, middle school students learned both mathematics and literacy skills.

“Across the board, our teachers are focusing on providing extra support for the fundamentals,” Pearl said. “Many of our students have fallen behind during the pandemic, but we have seen them make great progress over our summer session.”

Teachers focused on helping English Language Learners at the middle school because language barriers within families and technology challenges presented some students with more struggles than others, stated the release.

Staff members wanted to create an encouraging environment, so they tried to make the summer school program have a “summer camp feel” for the K-8 students, stated the release.

Those who participated in lessons competed for points based on attendance, involvement in class and for the middle school students, points for turning in assignments.

Meanwhile, high school students used APEX, a virtual learning platform, to replace credits lost during the regular school year, the release stated.

“Students used APEX to recover credits from a wide variety of subjects,” Pearl said. “Since they worked at their own pace, students were able to try to recover even more credits if they had the time to do so.”

Elementary staff members learned a new program called Phonics Booster, which teaches students how to sound out words while reading.

The teachers also helped younger students by wearing face shields so the children could see them mouth out certain words, which in turn, makes it easier to learn how to speak and read.

We will continue to provide summer school until we close the gap created by the pandemic,” Pearl said. “The elementary level will continue using this new Phonics Booster program in the fall as our summer staff has seen excellent results with it.”

The new school year starts Tuesday, Aug. 31 for Woodland Public Schools.

Families of elementary students are also invited to visit all three elementary school libraries for a place to study and check out books from 10 to 11:30 a.m. every weekday throughout summer break, stated the release.

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