Collier schools expand summer school eligibility, Lee sets goal for student participation
Southwest Florida schools are gearing up for summer education programs to make up any lost ground after the unique academic year.
This year, Collier schools expanded eligibility for summer school programs.
There are about 8,300 students who are eligible for Collier's summer education programs, Peggy Aune, associate superintendent of teaching and learning, said.
"The purpose of expanding it is to mitigate the impact of lost learning and the disruption of schooling, but also to really accelerate student achievement," Aune said.
The district sent home letters to eligible students, Aune said families should respond and confirm attendance.
Last year, a good portion of the district's summer programming was virtual due to the pandemic but this year's programs will be offered in-person, Aune said.
Currently, more than 90% of Collier students are learning in-person, according to the district.
The district anticipates that they will have teachers and staff to accommodate the number of students that are expected this summer, Elizabeth Alves, executive director of teaching and learning, said.
"We've been fortunate that we do have teachers, even though they may be tired at this point of the school year, that are willing to step up to the plate and provide that additional support to the students who will be attending," Alves said.
Schools will host summer school sessions from June 21 to July 22 with some programs at different times and dates.
The participating elementary schools, Calusa Park Elementary, Pinecrest Elementary, Corkscrew Elementary, Poinciana Elementary, Eden Park Elementary and Shadowlawn Elementary, will host students from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Pinecrest Elementary will have students for an additional 30 minutes.
Course and credit recovery classes for rising seventh- through 12th-grade students, who received a D or lower in a class, will be held at Corkscrew Middle School, East Naples Middle School, Palmetto Ridge High School and Lorenzo Walker Technical High School.
Students, excluding kindergarteners and first graders who will use devices onsite, are allowed to keep district devices over the summer regardless of enrollment in programs, Alves said.
Enrichment programs will be available to all students, like Gear Up For Next School Year, Alves said.
The optional program for students to work independently on non-graded assignments will be available through Canvas, the district's learning management system, Alves said.
"They will have their device to access those activities and resources from home," Alves said.
"Students are encouraged to stay connected, stay practicing those academic muscles throughout the summer," Aune said.
Students who are enrolled in Collier Virtual Academy, one of the district's virtual learning options, this semester can attend summer school at their zoned schools, according to the district.
In August, Collier schools will no longer offer Classroom Connect, the district's live instruction virtual option, leaving eCollier Academy with flexible learning as the sole choice.
There are also spaces available in pre-K programs for the summer, Aune said. interested parents should reach out to the district.
In Lee County, the school district's goal is to have more than 25,000 students take advantage of the summer programs they have available, Rob Spicker, the district's spokesman, wrote in an email.
Last summer, the district had about 15,000 students in programs. Years prior, the number of students stayed close to around 1,000, Spicker wrote.
Lee schools will host the bulk of K-8 summer programs through virtual learning, according to the district.
Will students mask up in summer school?
During summer sessions, Lee County students will have the option to wear a mask or not while Collier's school board plans to discuss the issue in the coming weeks.
Lee and Collier County's mask mandates in their schools are expected to last through the end of the school year.
At Collier's last school board meeting, Superintendent Kamela Patton and district staff recommended masks be made optional for summer.
The school board agreed to take up the discussion at its June 8 meeting with much voicing of support to end the requirement, especially by next school year.
Masks will also not be required in Lee County schools this upcoming August, Spicker wrote.
Some parents in both counties have pushed to have the mandate made optional before the end of the school year.
In Collier, about 35 students, parents and community members spoke to the issue at the school board's May 11 meeting.
Rachel Fradette is an education reporter for the Naples Daily News. Follow her on Twitter: @Rachel_Fradette, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please consider subscribing to support journalism in your own backyard.