, Salem, MA

Local News

April 29, 2013

Salem pushes summer learning

Plans include pilot school and several programs for children with special needs

SALEM — Summer was once a time to head to the fishing hole, the beach or the ballfield. It was a time for anything but reading, writing and arithmetic.

Until now.

Now, especially in urban school districts like Salem, summer is becoming a time for special programs and enrichment efforts targeting children with special needs, limited English or students from low-income families.

This summer, more than 700 Salem children will attend some form of summer school.

Offerings include a science program at Bentley Elementary School for at-risk students that is run with Salem State University and a literacy academy aboard the tall ship Friendship for largely Spanish-speaking children learning English.

The city has budgeted $325,000 for a pilot program for 240 elementary school children. The target group is children in grades three through five. Although plans are not final, they are looking at programs in the arts and sciences that will be a more hands-on and active learning experience.

While the pilot summer school will focus on children with the greatest needs, Superintendent Stephen Russell said he hopes to reserve about one-third of the seats for any child, with the names likely to be drawn by lottery.

Next year, the Salem schools hope to offer an even-wider range of summer programs.

The summer push is part of an effort by the Salem Public Schools to extend the school year and reduce the “learning loss” that many children experience over the two-month break, a loss that only grows as the years pass. It is also aimed at strengthening a struggling school system under state pressure to improve MCAS scores.

“This movement is coming from research,” Superintendent Stephen Russell said. “Those groups of highest-need kids have been found to suffer the most from summer learning loss.”

Studies show, for example, that children from low-income families who are not in a structured learning environment over the summer can lose two months of reading and math skills, officials said.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News

AP Video
Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites
Comments Tracker