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Beyond the School Year

July 1, 2019

Happy July!

I hope you’ll take the time to reflect on the 2018-2019 school year and consider your successes and challenges. We know that summer is a time to relax, rejuvenate, and recharge. In order to do that it is important to look back in order to move forward. I hope you’ll ask yourself the broad questions as well as specific ones. Getting ‘down in the weeds’ about of own teaching can be very productive.

I see that Edutopia included an article that dispels the myth around students learning slipping during the summer. The original study that supported the loss of summer learning is from the 1980’s. Paul T. von Hippel, a policy professor at the University of Texas at Austin revisited the study and he learned that there are flaws in the study. He claims that the testing methods “tended to distort the test scores”. It’s an interesting follow up and I suggest that you READ the article.

Proven or not, I wonder about visual and performing arts. We’ve all heard that students lose ground in reading and math but what about their other areas of learning? What about their progress in music or visual art? When your students left on the last day of your class did you suggest that they keep drawing or playing their instrument? Did you help them devise a plan to continue ‘working at’ their art form? We all know that during summer vacation many students spend more time engaged in the arts than they have time for during the school year. Community arts programs, day and overnight camps, museum and gallery programs, activity specific programs – in many communities opportunities in the arts are plentiful. Are these ‘art experiences’ or ‘high quality arts education’? I wonder, do learners keep developing their skills, creativity and passion for the arts during the summer in great part, thanks to these programs? What do you think?

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