Sign of the Pandemic: Summer schools have 10 times more students

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) –  Many education experts have feared the pandemic would have big negative impacts on schools, students and learning. Some test numbers that have started showing up in Kentucky and nationwide suggest those fears are true in at least sme areas and subjects.

But other numbers are reflecting the impact even more seriously.

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For instance, in a normal year, Fayette County schools would have 400 or 500 students enrolled in summer school. This year, 7,000 are enrolled as schools are helping kids get caught up or refreshed on things they may have missed learning remotely last year.

It’s a trend in school districts across the state.

That means schools like Liberty Elementary are holding three different summer school sessions, known as the Summer Ignite Program.

“It’s so beneficial to them to be in a classroom with an expert teacher learning more about some of the content they might have missed some of the content that they didn’t get to expand on just being in the classroom,” says Lisa Kear, principal of Liberty Elementary.

The first two sessions were 14 days long, with the third being five days. The goal is to help prepare some of the school’s youngest for a new school year.

“We are using it as a kindergarten boot camp to get our kindergartners and incoming kindergartners who have never been in school before to get accustomed to being away from home for a few hours,” says Kear.

More than 200 kids are registered in the Summer Ignite Program sessions.

For the children older than kindergarten age, Kear says the school took a look at the number of students they had and their needs.

“We based it on students that are in tier 2 and tier 3 instruction. Those are intervention and also our ELL students – students that English is their second language,” says Kear.

But despite the pace at which a child learns, Kear believes it’s her duty to give these kids the extra help they need.

“Victory is in the classroom,” Kear shared “And so that’s what we are giving them, the opportunity to have victory in the classroom over the summer.”