July 28, 2016
Finals are over, swimming pools have opened, and school books have been tossed aside – it is officially summer. However, the thought of summer break can evoke many different reactions. To students it may mean months of freedom and neglect of their educational materials. For parents, it may mean finding ways to fill free time. However, for many teachers and school districts there is no real break, but instead an opportunity to stay connected with students, parents, and the community, and prevent a lapse in learning. Even with students away from school, there are several ways to keep them reading and learning, which seeks to benefit all parties come August. Additionally, it is to the benefit of the school district that it stays active in the community and upholds a positive image of a district that is truly caring and involved.
Firstly, it is essential for schools to keep in touch. Without regular information being passed along to students directly from their teachers, utilizing mailing systems and social media becomes even more important. Sending out newsletters to student households is a great way to give out tips on retaining last year’s lessons, preparing for back-to-school, or sending updates on programs that the school may be hosting. Most importantly, creating a consistent presence is a comfort to parents as well, and will not go unnoticed during future levy campaigns. The same can be said for a presence on social media, keeping the district more accessible and up-to-date.
Secondly, schools can benefit from being more involved as well. Most cities or towns have an influx of parades, fairs, family days, and other public events in the summer months. These are perfect opportunities to make the school district one with the community and reach out to families and students. Giving out tips on reading retention, holding book drives, book giveaways, or even tabling with fun math based games or science experiments encourages parents to keep their children mentally engaged and garners trust in the school. However, districts don’t need to wait for an event to be active; a public library or even the school itself can provide further opportunities for involvement. The library is the perfect place for one or all of the reading centered events previously described. Furthermore, an even simpler solution to fighting the reading lapse could be allowing students to rent books from the school library throughout the summer as well.
Summer break shouldn’t be seen as freedom from education, but time to engage. When a school district utilizes these months wisely, the benefits are seen throughout. Students come back to school better prepared, parents are happy that their children are busy and their schools involved, and the responsibility of teachers to make up for months of neglect is lessened. Ahead is a brighter school year with strengthened relations and trust between the school and the community.