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School Dept. seeks past and current impact on student Summer School assessment

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By Neil Zolot

 

The School Department will track the test scores of students who attended the Summer Adventure Academy or summer school in the i-Ready assessment system. “We want to see if we can measure the programs,” Manager of Extended Learning Heather McCormack said. “I coded all the students who participated, and we’ll be looking at the i-Ready scores from last year and compare them to this year to see if we’ve prevented the summer slide to keep people level or if they improved their skills.” Comparisons will also be made between students who attended 80% of the 23-day program to those who attended 55% or 30% of the time.

“It will show how important and impactful the summer program is,” Ward 5 School Committee member Marcony Almeida-Barros said after McCormack’s presentation at the School Committee meeting Tuesday, September 5.

The Summer Adventure Academy was only one of many programs offered from July 5 to August 4 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., mostly staffed by Everett’s teachers. Over 1,500 students participated in courses that also included the Acceleration Academy in late August. Two-thirds of families involved also took advantage of additional programming until 4 p.m. All programs were free.

A total of 631 went to the Summer Adventure Academy. Over 50% attended 80% of the 23 days, and over 80% attended more than 50% of the time. Twenty percent of the participants have an Individual Education Plan compared to 15.6% of students district-wide, while 56% are English Learners compared to 37% of the district.

In addition to classes, the students took a trip to the Aquarium, and were visited by Curious Creatures and the Mystic River Watershed Association.

Parent and student feedback was good. McCormack reported that 95% of parents responding to a survey indicated they’d have their children participate next year, with the remaining 5% answering maybe.

Almeida-Barros said he knows families who had children in the Summer Adventure Academy and other summer programs. “They love it,” he said.

Other programs included High School Credit Recovery, in which 168 students failing one or more courses participated; Summer Band, in which 45 students participated, including Student Representative Sal DiDomenico; and Summer Athletics, in which 210 third- to eighth-graders participated in athletic camps, playing football, basketball volleyball, soccer and tennis. In addition were the Calculus Project, in which 29 student participated in a math program to minimize achievement gaps and increase higher level course taking and interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math fields among low-income students, students of color and immigrant students; Summer Bridge, in which 20 incoming ninth-graders became acclimated to the High School; and the Summer English Learners Academy, in which 29 students participated in an enrichment program for ninth- to twelfth-graders, which included a trip to Fisher College. Programs also included Summer Robotics, in which 10 students participated; the Summer Culinary program, in which culinary arts students prepared meals for the other programs, and the High School Teaching Assistant program, in which 24 students were hired to support the Summer Adventure Academy teachers and students. About 200 students participated in the Acceleration Academy, funded by a grant from the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. McCormack said those students were recruited if they were one or more grade levels behind in math or English.

It’s her first year supervising the programs. “I hope next year we’ll be able to have even more programs and continue to build,” she said.

In Public Comment, Margaret Cornelio spoke about using Pope John’s, the closed Catholic school on Broadway, to alleviate a lack of space for students. Similar comments she made at the August 28 meeting were mistakenly attributed to Millie Cardello.

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