Prince George’s County’s summer school programs look to address student needs

The school system in Prince George’s County’s, Maryland, stayed in a virtual learning format longer than other jurisdictions in the rest of the state. Now, it is offering summer classes to do more than just address “learning loss.”

Dr. Kia McDaniel, director of curriculum and instruction for Prince George’s County Public Schools, said the Summer Learning Spark sessions from July 6-30, provides a range of programs designed to offer enrichment, acceleration, credit recovery and more, depending on a student’s situation.

For high school students, there will be a focus on credit recovery to make certain that students aren’t scrambling to fulfill graduation requirements at the last minute.

“We have opportunities for all students,” McDaniel said, and there are a variety of learning platforms offered, including virtual, hybrid and face-to-face instruction.

For virtual programs, there’s no need to register, students can select from an array of subjects. There is no charge for any of the summer instruction.

McDaniel said the bulk of classes for reinforcement and credit recovery will be in person.

Several parents told school officials that they wanted the summer programs to be in person, so students could have direct instruction from a teacher. But McDaniel said they were thinking about more than just the teacher-student connection.

“They actually want them in class with other students, so they really want the social aspect,” along with the ability for students to have a chance to ask questions of a teacher in the room, she said.

And it’s not just students who are excited to be back.

“We have a lot of teachers who are just excited” to be able to have the back-and-forth exchanges that can happen in a classroom setting, and they are ready to support the students, McDaniel said.

There have been concerns in school systems across the country that some students simply checked out of the learning process while trying to attend classes virtually. McDaniel said pupil personnel workers and school counselors have been working to re-engage those students.

Teachers have been working to gauge where their students stand academically.

“We have been assessing our students, whether they were virtual all year, or they came back to us in a hybrid format,” McDaniel said.

The idea is to get a sense of where students are strong, and where they could need reinforcement.

For students who choose the online programs, there are a number of suggestions how to make use of the platform.

“Families have the opportunity to set their child’s own schedule. Not only do we have recommendations on the platforms they should use and the amount of time they should be on those platforms, but there are some non-computer based activities that we recommend,” including physical activities, McDaniel said.

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Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

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