- About Us
- Students and Parents
- Co-Curricular Activities
- Admin & IT
May 21, 2012
A Big Job Well Done
A huge “thank you!” to eighth and eleventh grade students who have given their all this past week on the New England Common Assessment Program exams. The combination of incentives, preparation provided by teachers Hanah LaBarre, Rachel Doty, Bruce Whitman, Paul Paytas, and Ruth Ann Dunn, and effective supervision in a small-group setting have encouraged our students to take the exam seriously and try their best. The NECAP science exams test student learning of Vermont’s Grade Expectations in physics, chemistry, biology, and earth science, taught in grades 5-8 and grades 9-11.
On Spirit Day on Monday, June 4th, students will hear the raffle ticket winners, and the Class of 2013 will have tickets added for Project Graduation prizes. Next fall, Dr. Steven John, Superintendent of Schools, will present students who demonstrate proficiency (score of 3) and proficiency with distinction (score of 4) a certificate of recognition. These levels of achievement will also be added to students’ secondary school transcripts.
“What are you doing this summer?” I have asked numerous Leland and Gray students. To my surprise, many were not sure. Only a month away, an untold number have yet to determine how to spend the dozen hours, dozens of days, and almost two dozen weeks of summer break. As academic achievement receives ever-greater scrutiny, summer activities have been identified as a critical factor contributing to student learning. In today’s world, just because students have summers off doesn’t mean parents/guardians are working any less, which makes supervision of activities difficult. Indeed, what students do over the summer makes a big difference.
During my time as a school administrator, I have expressed concerns to the Vermont Department of Education about the timing of the fall NECAP exams. Since summertime can either boost student passion for learning or derail student interest from school altogether, the achievement gap schools seek to narrow becomes impossible to measure on exams when given right after a long break. Research at Johns Hopkins University reveals that youth can lose 2-3 months of reading each summer, and may explain why the achievement gap widens up through the grades. Yet the importance of meaningful summer activities for each individual student far exceeds any standardized test.
Teen summer employment has steadily decreased since the millennium. Currently only about one-third to one-half of teens find a job. At the same time, families are under increasing economic pressure that prevents older children from attending summer programs. Compounding this is the reluctance of teens to do anything in summer. Many seem begging for a break, as if directionless lounging was a viable endeavor. 60% of parents report difficulty in encouraging them to engage in constructive activities (Brady, 2007). Nevertheless, no one should give up. Whether or not students have found employment, they must recognize that summer fosters personal development. Will that development include sleeping in the daytime and eating snacks at all hours? Or will it include facing healthy challenges and meeting goals? Here are a few goals that build personal strength, smarts, and character:
Helpful Websites for Summer Planning
Leland and Gray – summer programs: https://sites.google.com/a/lelandandgray.org/hey-after-school-programs/s-e-e-k
Leland and Gray – coop program: https://sites.google.com/a/lelandandgray.org/david-j-ahern/course-1
Windham County Youth Services Bureau – summer programs: http://youthservicesinc.org
Windham County Sheriff’s Department – summer camp in leadership, military experience, and law enforcement: http://www.windhamsheriff.com/program.php?pid=16
Brady, Jennifer E. “Summer as a season for learning.” Presentation at the New England 21st Century Community Learning Centers Conference, Portland, ME. 2007. Print.
National Summer Learning Association. More than a hunch: Kids lose learning skills over summer months. 2007. 20 May 2012. Web.