Summer Learning FAQ

Summer Learning
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    Is Summer Learning mandatory?

    Summer Learning is not mandatory. There are ways parents can opt-out their child if they wish. There are no repercussions for opting out. The summer learning is flexible and self-paced to accommodate student and family needs.


    When is the Continuity of Learning 3.0’s Summer Learning program being offered?

    Summer education and enrichment for Alexandria City Public Schools will be held on weekdays - Monday through Thursday - from July 6-July 31, 2020.


    Why is my student “expected” to participate in Summer Learning?

    Academic loss during COVID-19 is real. This year, it has the potential to be combined with summer learning loss, too. We don’t want our children to get further behind. It is important that we as a school division do everything we can to ensure students’ learning needs are being met, especially during these unprecedented times. To minimize summer learning loss, we are offering summer learning and enrichment for all students for the first time.


    If there has been learning loss since schools closed, won't there continue to be learning loss in a virtual summer school?

    We are providing engaging and enriching opportunities for students this summer to mitigate learning loss as much as possible. Though we cannot replicate face-to-face instruction, we must provide support and continuity during the month of July to afford students an opportunity to limit their learning loss.


    Does the school year technically end and the student complete their grade in June or in August?

    Summer Learning is not meant to extend the current school year. The end of the school year for all students is June 19th. Summer Learning merely helps mitigate learning loss that may have already occurred and may occur over the summer.


    Why should my student participate in the Boost Courses?

    The Boost Courses in English and math are being offered to mitigate any learning losses due to school closures and the regular “summer slide”  and to make sure students are prepared for and can take advantage of the work offered at the next grade level.



    What do you recommend parents do in that instance where parents want kids to attend summer school but cannot do all four weeks?

    Summer Learning is designed to provide families with flexibility. Students are not required to attend the Zoom sessions. They will be recorded allowing your student to participate in summer school when it best suits your schedule. Students in PreK-4th grade can do the learning kit on their schedule and still access the recorded lessons. Students in 5th-11th grade taking a Boost Course can complete the course on their schedule as this is a self-directed program with teacher check-ins.


    When are the recorded lessons available?

    Students will be able to access the recorded lessons later the same day.


    Will my child be recorded when they participate in a Zoom session?

    Students will not be recorded during the Zoom class sessions.


    What will summer learning entail and for how many hours for elementary students?  

    Live lessons will begin at 9 am Monday through Thursday and end at 10 a.m. with the scheduled day ending at 12:30 pm. Following this schedule is optional since the live lessons are recorded allowing for maximum flexibility for families to take advantage of summer learning.


    Are three-in-a-half hour sessions really grade-appropriate for rising 2nd graders?

    Students are not expected to be on Zoom for 3.5 hours. There will be a one hour Zoom morning meeting, the rest of the time is spent on independent reading and learning, some movement activities and check-ins with the teacher when needed. So, the only portion of any day that can be accessed live is from 9 to 10 a.m. but this session will be recorded and families can view it any time they choose. There is also a check-in time between 11:30 and 12:30 but that is also voluntary. We provided a  sample schedule at ACPS-at-Home for families who would like additional structure. Online resources for Summer Learning include Zoom for the class meeting and Clever for the curriculum.


    Is there a way for middle and high school students to take advantage of the summer learning without the Zoom sessions?

    The Boost Courses for middle and high school students are self-directed and students do not have to log on to Zoom.



    How are special needs students participating?

    Students with disabilities will be provided special education support and/or direct instruction in coursework focused on English/Language Arts (ELA) and Math. Differentiated levels of support will be provided based on individual students’ needs. Elementary students with disabilities will be provided grade-level learning packets with differentiated support based on individual student needs, as well as other options to address targeted learning needs. Secondary students with disabilities will be provided the opportunity to participate in new credit and credit recovery courses offered to all students, as well as other options appropriate for their learning needs.


    How will your instructional staff be supporting learners who function above grade level?

    ACPS has designed activities for students who work above grade level that are included in the learning packets and the curriculum units. For example, the "Together When Apart" inquiry activities lend themselves to higher-order thinking and experiential learning. The STEM activities will also challenge the above level students through extensions which will be provided. Additionally, students will be encouraged to read books of interest and at an appropriate level throughout the summer.


    My student has already taken 6th-grade Algebra and is in all TAG classes, so will the material be relevant?

    Your student will be enrolled in a geometry Boost Course and will find it relevant as a preparation for the fall.


    Some of the work provided to children feels remedial, we would like more challenging items. During Summer Learning, will teachers assess levels for each student?

    We are adding more self-guided options in the materials in the kits and in the Boost Courses for all students who wish for more challenges. And for students in 5th through 11th grade, there is a built-in diagnostic assessment in each Boost Course to identify what they already know and what they need to learn.


    How do you know if a course is credit-bearing and will be graded?

    Some of the high school level courses - the credit recovery courses and the new credit courses that cost money to take are credit-bearing and will be graded. Summer Learning is an opportunity for students to improve their grades through credit recovery or to take new courses for high school credits and open their schedules to take more electives in the fall. Having said that, no other Summer Learning courses will be graded.



    During distance learning, some teachers use Zoom to teach, others use the Zoom time as social time, will instruction be standardized during Summer Learning?

    This summer we will be entering Continuation of Learning’s 3.0 version and we are applying lessons learned since we began distance learning. The use of Zoom by teachers will be standardized for the Summer Learning sessions.


    What sort of feedback can we expect from teachers during summer school courses?

    Students in PreK- 2nd grade will receive feedback during office hours, or through emails to parents.

    Students currently in grades 3 and 4 will receive feedback on their inquiry project through Canvas.

    Students in grades 5 through 11 have a built-in feedback loop through the online platform in use.


    Does “virtual check-in or phone support” for pre-K through 2nd grade mean a phone call or additional Zoom session with the teacher?

    A virtual check-in or phone support are not required for students. These virtual check-ins for students/families were added after receiving feedback from ACPS administrators that our PreK through 2nd grade students needed more access or support from teachers.


    What is the goal for check-in sessions?

    The sessions are designed to provide additional support to students when they would like to access it. Participation in check-ins is not required.


    Is there an opportunity for the parent to provide feedback or for the teacher to speak directly to the student?

    Each teacher will be offering office hours. These were set up as an opportunity for the teacher to speak directly with their student and/or the parent.


    Are we going to have different teachers at summer school than we have now?

    It is likely that your student will have a different teacher during Summer Learning than they did over the school year. ACPS is currently hiring teachers and staff for the Summer Learning program and will release teacher assignments in the coming weeks.


    Will students be grouped by school?

    Students will be grouped by the school he or she attends.


    How many students per zoom class? Is there a cap?

    There are currently no caps on class size, but we are expecting classes of 25 to 30 students.


    Will you be assessing students prior to grouping so as to best address each child's needs?

    ACPS will pre-assess students prior to their placement in the Boost Courses.



    How can parents find out what the standards are that were expected to be met for their grade level so they can review their student’s work and see if they want to opt-out or not?

    Our priority standards for all grade levels for the Fourth Quarter can be found on the ACPS-at-Home website. 


    If we opt-out our student, will it affect our student advancing to the next grade level?

    Students who opt-out will not be affected and will progress to the next grade level.


    What happens if a student doesn't participate?

    We will reach out to students during the summer to encourage participation in Summer Learning, but ultimately this is the parents’ choice.


    We want to participate in the Dual Language Academy this summer, but are children supposed to do both Dual Language and Summer Learning?

    If your child attends Mount Vernon Community School or is a John Adams Elementary School dual language student he or she will automatically be enrolled in the language academy.


    How do you sign your middle school student up for just music or just drama classes?

    Go to the ACPS-at -Home website and find the link directly under the course description to sign up for these Secondary Enrichment Programs. But, please also opt-out of Summer Learning Boost Courses in English and math if your student will only be participating in the drama and/or music camps.


    Can I sign my rising 9th grader up for the new credit PE for a fee, but opt-out of the Boost Courses in the Summer Learning program?

    You can do this by signing up for the 9th-grade Physical Education summer class and then going to the opt-out form and checking the box to opt-out of the Boost Courses.


    Can my student take both the High School PE 9 and Governors Health and Science Bridge program this summer?

    The GWUHS Summer Bridge Program will be recorded so you will have the flexibility to take both new credit PE 9 and the Summer Bridge Program.


    Can rising ninth-grade students take: High School PE 9, the Governors Health and Sciences Summer Bridge, AP Bootcamp and Theater Camp?

    This is possible, however, please ensure a parent/guardian is involved in the decision and speak with your school counselor to make sure you select a balanced schedule that will meet your needs.


    There are two dates in July for Advanced Placement Boot Camps, how do I make sure we get into the one that doesn’t conflict with another program?

    You should make the choice of which dates work best for you based on your daily academic and personal schedule.  There is a section where you can list comments on the sign-up form--please input the dates that work for you. ACPS Summer School and Enrichment Programs 2020 form.


    Do you think the decision to offer Summer Learning will encourage private summer camps and activities to be canceled, because of the expectation that students will be in summer school instead?

    ACPS purposefully built flexibility into Summer Learning to allow students to participate in both summer camp and summer school. The decision to provide additional learning opportunities to all our students over the summer should not cause camps to cancel their programs.



    Will the Young Scholars program still be in effect?

    The Young Scholars program offers a three-week summer experience that extends learning beyond the classroom by taking students on field trips and engaging in hands-on learning. Unfortunately, due to the need to social distance and comply with the Governor’s order, the official young scholars program will not take place this summer. However, ACPS is going to match up groups of young scholars students with young scholars teachers.


    Do you think the decision to offer Summer Learning will encourage private summer camps and activities to be canceled, because of the expectation that students will be in summer school instead?

    ACPS purposefully built flexibility into Summer Learning to allow students to participate in both summer camp and summer school. The decision to provide additional learning opportunities to all our students over the summer should not cause camps to cancel their programs.



    How are you soliciting parent/staff feedback besides surveys?

    ACPS is currently soliciting feedback from our staff, parents and students through surveys.