ELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times
While the USD 480 elementary schools were hosting their Jump Start summer school programs, the USD 480 middle schools were also preparing students for the 2023-24 school year with summer school programs of their own.
“For our summer school program, we averaged approximately 70 students per day. We’d targeted 150, but we averaged 70, and we were actually happy with that. That gave us a really good student-to-teacher ratio, and some of our teachers took the opportunity, if they happened to be doing math in the same area/skill set, to team up, which I thought was really cool,” Seymour Rogers Middle School Principal Jason Diseker said. “With program testing, what we focused on at Seymour Rogers Middle School was the MAP screener, which is quick to give. It’s about 15 to 20 questions and gives us a solid average score we can go with and see the growth potential through the pre- and post-tests. Our teachers really focused on the explicit instruction, which is direct instruction, and then the students also did some group work and independent work. With the independent work, we leaned heavily on the Lexia and math accelerator programs to help us out. As far as growth, after three or four weeks, we saw an average of seven points of growth in reading and five points of growth in math. What we were really pleased with, however, besides just this, is we just completed our ELA reading assessment, and not a single student who went through that slid back. Every student either maintained their skill level or grew, and every student averaged at least two points of growth, which is fantastic. Most of our student body, when you look at spring to fall, those numbers can fluctuate like crazy, so we were very happy with that outcome of no one going backwards.”
Eisenhower Middle School Principal Randi Jones then shared how things went with her students.
“For Eisenhower Middle School, we saw about the same numbers as Seymour Rogers Middle School. We’re inviting about 150 students each summer, but our attendance is around 70 or so,” Jones said. “We ran nine classrooms. Something I think was really cool for summer school this year is how we had a lot of teacher interest, we had an abundance of teachers who applied to teach summer school, so each of those nine classrooms had a highly qualified teacher in there. Each classroom also had a paraprofessional. The students had two hours of reading and two hours of math. With the reading, we focused on vocabulary, comprehension, fluency and the Lexia intervention work. With math, the focus was on fact fluency, computation skills and the math accelerator intervention. We did send individual growth reports home with the students at the end of summer school in order to show families the difference summer school can make for students so the word can spread about how successful it is. In the 15 days of instruction, the students averaged a mastery of five math skills, and mastery is the highest level you can attain. 20 percent of our students moved from the foundational level to the intermediate level in reading, and 15 percent of our students from the intermediate level to the advanced level, which means they’re making good gains. Something else we noticed with was how the students who had trouble with chronic absenteeism during the school year didn’t have trouble with attendance during summer school because they were able to get that one-on-one time with the teachers, which helped build their skills and their confidence level, so we’re definitely reaching students. Our students who ended up with perfect attendance all got a Taco Bell coupon, a pass to Adventure Bay Water Park and a free snow cone from Ice Lickers, and students who had only one absence got a Taco Bell coupon and a free snow cone from Ice Lickers, so we did have some incentives for students.”
Overall, Jones said, there was a lot to be proud of.
“We were all really proud of how all the students did,” Jones said. “There was fun and education involved throughout the entire time, and I have to give my staff and teachers a lot of praise for everything they were able to do for our summer school students this time around.”