Over the last year, a term used throughout the education world has been “lost learning” or “learning loss.” This term is not welcomed at Victoria ISD, though. We recognize there has been unfinished learning over the last year, but to say our students have experienced learning loss is not exactly accurate. See, you cannot lose something you haven’t yet learned, but there are educational benchmarks that can be unfinished.

For this reason, each Victoria ISD campus administration is looking outside the box to create innovative opportunities to tackle unfinished learning aggressively. This summer, there will be endless opportunities for students as the district strives to address unfinished learning.

Let’s take a look at what our campuses have been doing and what opportunities lie ahead.

Victoria East and Victoria West High Schools offered Spring School, with the first session being completed in early March and Spring School 2.0 starting at the end of March. Spring School is an intensive, four-week program designed to help students gain a half-credit from the fall 2020 semester. More than 200 high school students completed Spring School.

‘Summer slide’ is on the horizon, and no, this is not a cool theme park ride. Summer slide is a term coined to label the academic ground that students lose during the summer. Because we know that learning has been different and challenging over the last year and a half and that summertime does contribute directly to academic loss, VISD is offering a more comprehensive array of summer school opportunities.

Middle school and high school Summer School Course Recovery, Elementary Summer Bridge, and Bilingual Summer School will be available to kindergarten through 12th-grade students. These programs are designed to address essential content that must be mastered before students move to the next grade level or course. Summer class sizes are small to allow teachers to provide focused learning for students based on their individualized needs. Teachers use various teaching strategies, including small group instruction, computerized programs, and hands-on approaches.

Transition Camp will continue for first-time sixth-grade students. Moving to middle school is a big deal for students, with lots of new information, new classes, rotating classes, new teachers and new friends, and keeping up with resources.

High School students will have the opportunity to participate in Summer End-of-Course (EOC) Accelerated Instruction courses. Students who did not pass the required EOC for graduation in English 1, Algebra, Biology, and U.S. History can retake the course and test for graduation. Students who feel comfortable taking the EOC Test without the accelerated course can opt for EOC Testing.

To further help curve the ‘summer slide,’ there are several summer programs available through VISD. Math Summer Bridge and Summer ELAR Grit Camp will help students learn skills needed to succeed in Advanced Math courses and Advanced Pre-AP and AP English courses. We are also collaborating with community groups and partners to support students and ensure continuous learning. This includes Science Mill Summer STEM Camps, YMCA of the Golden Crescent, the Right at School program, and more. More information will be available about these programs on the VISD website and social media accounts once details are finalized.

VISD knows firsthand, in an unprecedented year, students and parents have found their education disrupted. We also know that the impact on learning is significant. Acknowledging that our students have unfinished learning and providing multiple opportunities to address unfinished learning is a priority. Through innovative ideas, like Spring School, we are working to grow educational opportunities for students continuously.

To learn more about Victoria ISD Summer School & Camps, visit visd.net/summerprograms/ and be sure to follow Victoria ISD on Facebook.

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Susanne Carroll is the assistant superintendent of Curriculum, Instruction & Accountability. Tammy Sestak is the executive director of Elementary Student Learning & Talent Development

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