Lack of resources in summer schools create hurdles for teachers

Dive Brief:

  • Summer school classes can suffer from overcrowding and shortened class time, leaving more students without the individual attention they may require, writes New York City public school teacher Adam Feinberg for Education Week. 
  • special education students and ELLs face even more summer school challenges; Many IEPs do not require schools to offer services for students for all 12 months, and often schools do not have the staff or resources to be able to do that. Further, Feinberg writes many schools have no guidance counselors or social workers during summer.
  • Feinberg said things could be improved if schools had more teachers and counselors on hand for the entire year. It is hard to improve upon summer school pedagogy, he writes, without first getting summer schools the same resources they have during the school year.

Dive Insight:

School districts often have difficulty fulfilling the requirements of a student’s IEP during the regular school year, and this problems is only further exacerbated during the summer months, when school staff dwindles even more. The lack of staff also means that special education students of varying needs are too often grouped into one class or school, putting students who could operate with assistance in a general education environment in a position where they may suffer additional regressions.

Administrators and school leaders are stuck in a difficult situation, as fulfilling IEPs during the summer (and during the school year, for that matter) is often incumbent on utilizing resources and staff that may not be available. Strategic partnerships with nonprofits have been beneficial for supporting special education in some charter schools in New York City and Washington, D.C., and school districts should consider collaboration during summer with outside organizations if more full-time staff is out of the question. It would still be an investment, but costs may be controllable via a part-time partnership. Neighboring districts could also establish partnerships to share counselors and social workers during the summer months, which may be more feasible due to the comparatively lower number of students.

Filed Under: K12
Top image credit: Flickr; Alan Levine