Summer is traditionally regarded as a time for fun and to rejuvenate for the next school year, but it needs to be much more than that if we are to keep up academically with the rest of the world.
Learning cannot stop for anything and I am an advocate for yearlong school. The current calendar for school was built around the agricultural needs of the nation. It is time to rethink our school calendar and rebuild it to fit the needs of the children in an ever-increasing competitive world. Since that is not happening any time soon, it is extremely important that the summer is used well to reflect on the past school year, plan for next fall and beyond, and offer summer enrichment ideas.
The Dickson faculty is currently writing the "Getting Results" plan for the state, which outlines the target areas that need improved and a step by step action plan, including professional development. While we think we have a good, measurable plan, the data does not yet include the 2011 PSSA results. We are anxiously awaiting this year’s results to analyze the data and make sure our plan for improvement is accurate and addresses the needs of all Dickson students. The Dickson faculty is very hopeful that the 2011 PSSA scores will demonstrate all the hard work on part of both teachers and students with scores that show growth for all students overall and for each subgroup.
The faculty has also put together a summer reading package for grades kindergarten through second and one for grades three through six. Each package includes grade level reading lists, vocabulary, educational websites and information about the local library programs. All students received this summer package to take home for the summer, and it is also posted on the Dickson website. There are a lot of ways to keep the students engaged over the summer and reading daily is one of the most beneficial. Please take advantage of the package the Dickson staff has put together in order to continue your child’s academic progress.
When planning for summer trips, remember to include excursions to cultural events and places such as museums and the science center. Most importantly, take advantage of the teachable moments in everyday life. That weekly shopping trip for groceries can be a math lesson as well as lessons about agriculture, consumerism and healthy choices. The doctor’s visit can also be an exploration of career options or age appropriate anatomy lessons.
For those parents of very young children, give them every opportunity for scholastic achievement when they start school. Work with your preschooler on identifying numbers and letters, naming colors, body parts, and shapes. It is very important for children to have a good foundation when they start school.
There is world of opportunity to explore and endless ways to learn. Use every opportunity to make this summer filled with learning for you and your children.