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Parish to hold summer school

Four weeks of remediation funded by federal virus relief
Thursday, February 4, 2021
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In an attempt to help make up the educational ground some students may have lost during an irregular spring and fall of school affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Lincoln Parish School District will be offering four weeks of summer school this year.

That’s the word Superintendent Ricky Durrett passed along to school board members Tuesday night at the board’s regular monthly meeting.

Planned for two twoweek sessions on June 7-18 and July 12-23, the summer program will be offered to students whom schools have identified as needing remedial attention in order to be ready for the next grade level. Durrett said for those students who are failing or are in danger of failing, the summer school will be mandatory if they want to have a chance to move to the next grade.

Summer instruction will be all in-person. Breakfast and lunch will be provided, and students will be bussed to their site, which may be different than where they usually go to school. The exact sites for each age group are still in the works.

The first session will focus on catching up on material from the grade students are in, and the second session will aim to prepare them for the next grade. Special education students will be included.

“We want to use that time to remediate and catch up anything they’ve lost,” Durrett told board members.

“I do understand we’re not going to make up a whole year’s time in two weeks, but we do have some kids who are just slightly behind. And even if they’re way behind, some intense work for two weeks will help,” Durrett said.

The abrupt interruption of school due to the pandemic’s onset last March, followed by online-only instruction in the spring and a hybrid model in the fall, has seemingly led to more students being behind on their grasp of class material than usual.

Principals and teachers are working to identify students who they believe are in danger of failing this school year, and Durrett said in a Wednesday interview he estimates that currently includes about 30-35% of the student body on average.

If schools can stick to a more regular schedule for the rest of the year, he said he expects that number to go down before summer school starts.

The program will be fully funded by new COVID-19 relief money from the federal government. The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, signed on Dec. 27, allocated some $54.3 billion for K-12 school systems, and one of the dedicated purposes of the money is to address any learning losses that the pandemic situation may have caused in students.

Durrett said the district isn’t sure yet exactly how much money it’ll be getting from this package, but they’re told it’ll be at least two or three times more than the $2.3 million sent Lincoln Parish’s way from the original CARES Act last summer.

That’ll fully pay for all the transportation, food, employee pay and everything else needed to hold the summer program not only this year, but also for the summer of 2022.

The district will also be offering two weeks of ACT test prep for juniors and seniors who may have missed an opportunity to take the test in 2020. There will be two testing dates, June 12 and July 17, and a week of prep classes leading up to each.

Students not identified as in need of remediation will likely not be able to attend summer school, Durrett said, but the district is working on some enrichment activities at the STEM Center and elsewhere for students to catch up on the normal experiences they may have missed last year.

In a related update, Durrett told board members the district is down to only 8% of students enrolled in the virtual program, with the other 92% back in school in person every day. When asked if virtual-only learning would still be offered next school year, he said it’s too early to tell.