At Lakeside School we offer a summer school program each year for students who are needing some catch-up time or extra therapeutic help. As we enter the 2021-22 school year we recognize that so many students in our region have extensive “loss of learning” and some intense anxiety and mental health concerns. That is why we are structuring a summer for regulation and coping skills as well as some academic support to make up for their lost credits.
Our hope is that we will help students in our care to be better prepared for the upcoming school year.
Karen Pittman has just released an article in the Hechinger Report about this very topic. She focuses on the need for students to be engaged and have the opportunity to deal with some of their residual mental health needs that are a result of COVID-19.
Here are some excerpts from her article:
Summer can be a time to play, dream and explore new things. In the wake of the pandemic, this summer will be more important than ever for students and the schools and organizations that work with them.
That’s why it’s time to embrace both a more comprehensive vision of how and where learning happens and a broader variety of opportunities that truly engage kids and set them up for success — rather than hold on to old notions of “summer school” as a time for catching up.
This summer we face both a challenge and a promise: We are still grappling with overlapping health, social and economic crises; the pandemic has impacted everything from children’s health, education and financial security to their friendships. At the same time, there are now historic levels of federal funding to tackle this multifaceted challenge……
First, we cannot help children until we engage them. And we can’t engage them if they’re not in school. This spring, many students are still simply missing from classrooms, both in-person and virtual. According to an October 2020 Bellwether Education report that was updated in March 2021, an estimated 3 million students nationwide have not received any instruction — in-person or virtual — since the beginning of the pandemic.
As the science of learning and development has shown us, all solutions to reengaging students must take into account the stress that affects their health and their ability to learn. Young people, particularly those from marginalized backgrounds, have faced often traumatic levels of stress this year.
Perhaps this is a good year for your student to re-engage and get the coping skills they require for this phase of recovery and healing from COVID-19. It could really help them prepare for re-entry for their school year to come.