By Nanea Kalani
At Kea‘au Elementary School on Hawai‘i Island, roughly 20% of the school’s nearly 900 students are participating in the school’s summer enrichment programs, according to Principal Janice Blaber.
Kea‘au Elementary is offering both virtual and face-to-face models for its K-5 students. The virtual model offers literacy, numeracy, project-based learning, and ‘ukulele three times a week, while the face-to-face hub meets daily and focuses on numeracy and literacy.
“Also, our virtual summer school teachers created pre-recorded content and instructional packet enrichment this summer for all of our students, whether they are participating in the summer programs or not,” Principal Blaber said.
In all, more than 15,000 students statewide are participating in summer learning opportunities as schools, educators and Department leaders continue to adapt and innovate new ways of teaching and learning amid the COVID pandemic.
Summer learning programs were expanded to have a wider reach and scope than in past years, with a focus on serving high-need and hard-to-reach students, with added opportunities for credit recovery and advancement for secondary students.
Delivery models include online learning, in-person learning hubs, a blended approach, hard-copy instructional packets, alternative learning programs and more. Summer learning is being offered through more than 200 schools or learning sites.
At Kea‘au Elementary, Principal Blaber said the modified return to campus involves a “tremendous amount of effort” to ensure CDC and wellness guidelines are followed daily by students and staff. With online learning, the biggest challenge, she said, has been keeping students engaged in a virtual setting.
“Yet, the overall feeling among students is a delightfulness to be back ‘in school’ learning routines despite the new adaptations,” she said. “Our summer teaching staff have been appreciative of this experience as it tasks us on what fall will look like.”
Kea‘au Elementary is using lessons learned over the last quarter and summer months to make adjustments and plan for what reopening will look like in the fall.
“The loss of face-to-face instructional time in the fourth quarter has catalyzed us, like many other schools, to think more deeply about how to streamline teaching and learning so we can engage our school community in learning spaces that optimally benefit wellness and academic achievement and student empowerment,” Principal Blaber said.
“As we head into the new school year, we are currently engaging in and securing more professional learning for our staff on accelerated learning practices like (Universal Design for Learning) and project-based learning that engages learners in a blended learning environment,” she added. “Similarly, our K-12 Kea'au community is working on more effective ways to streamline regular communication and support for our families.”
Here’s a breakdown of some of the programs and students served, based on weekly summer learning
reports submitted to the Board of Education. For the week of June 15-19:
- Official summer school sites: 15 schools, 3,465 students enrolled.
- E-School official summer school: One site, 956 courses enrolled.
- School-based opportunities (including online instruction, face-to-face, blended, packet instruction): 142 schools, 9,704 students enrolled.
- Credit-recovery: 10 schools, 671 students enrolled.
- Extended School Year (ESY) for eligible students with disabilities: 117 schools, 543 students served.
- Alternative Learning Program Support Services – eight sites, 181 student participants.
Photo credit: Kea‘au Elementary