Disclosure :: This post is sponsored by The Dunham School.
Preparing Students for Academic Success Amid COVID-19: Tips for Parents
With the outbreak of COVID-19 earlier this year, schools across the country shut their doors and transitioned to a new mode of teaching and learning. Over the course of a few days, parents became homeschoolers and family rooms became classrooms as distance learning became the new normal.
To be sure, experiences varied from school to school, with some parents reporting a high degree of satisfaction with distance learning and others concerned their children didn’t have a quality experience. While it’s safe to say that everyone—parents and students alike—are ready to enjoy a much needed summer break, the tips below may be helpful to parents worried about academic gaps that may leave their children struggling when school begins in the fall.
Remember that COVID-19 impacted everyone and distance learning wasn’t limited to one school, one city, or one region of the county. Teachers and school administrators know they may need to help students catch up and understand that they are ultimately responsible for educating the students enrolled in their schools. A teacher’s job has always been to assess where his or her students are at the beginning of each school year and then develop a plan to get them where they need to be. The first few weeks of the school year have traditionally been a time to review skills, and this year will be no different.
Reach out to your school’s administration and ask if they have specific plans in place to address any gaps in achievement that may have occurred in the spring. This may be particularly helpful if your child will be attending a new school next year and you have concerns about his or her readiness to succeed in a new academic environment. As Dunham Head of School Steve Eagleton recently communicated to new parents, “We are committed to helping every new student adjust to the academic standards at our school. Our teachers will work to ensure that students are not only caught up and on pace with their peers, but that they will soon thrive when given the appropriate academic challenge and support.”
Look at your child’s previous academic record.
If you child has been a strong student in the past, learning gaps will most likely be minimal, and he or she should be able to catch up fairly quickly once school begins. If a student has struggled in certain subjects in the past, those might be areas to focus on over the summer.
Take advantage of online resources.
There are a number of free resources online that can be used for review and remediation. Khan Academy provides a comprehensive curriculum for all ages. For specific skills such as reading, Epic is beneficial for children up to 12 years old, and iXL is a popular site used to practice math skills up to 12th grade.
Explore summer enrichment options.
A number of schools are offering enrichment camps that appeal specific areas of interest, such as robotics and STEM, or cover specific subject areas like reading or math.
The Dunham School has expanded summer offerings in July to include academic prep classes designed to review core concepts prior to the next school year. In addition to traditional “brush-up” camps for K-4th grade students, the school has added one-week academic prep classes in English and math for middle and high school students. All classes will be held on the Dunham campus and taught by Dunham teachers. More information, including course descriptions, dates, and registration links, can be found at dunhamsummer.org. Because space is limited due to health and safety protocols, early registration is recommended.
To learn more about The Dunham School, visit dunhamschool.org.
Marguerite Estes is the director of marketing and communications at The Dunham School. She holds a Master of Arts in Education and has worked in education for nearly 20 years. Prior to joining the staff at Dunham, served as a high school English teacher, admissions director, and communications director in Memphis, Tennessee.