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How Schools Can Provide the Education Kids Need This Summer

Students nationwide are still behind in their learning in the wake of the pandemic. Schools can use summer sessions to help bridge the gap.

By Emily LevittVP of Education at Sylvan Learning
SPONSOREDUpdated 10:10AM 05/27/22

When I was growing up, summer school had a negative connotation. It was either for kids who were doing poorly in school, or it was something punitive — a summerlong detention kids were forced to attend while their friends rode bikes and ran through sprinklers. 

Now, in the wake of the pandemic, summer school means something different altogether. For most, it’s an opportunity. For many, it’s a necessity.

The data is pretty scary. Analysis from McKinsey & Company shows that the pandemic’s impact on K–12 students was significant, projecting that students on average will still be five months behind in mathematics and four months behind in reading by the end of the school year. Teachers have noticed these trends, too, with more than 97% of educators reporting seeing some learning loss in their students compared with children in previous years. Parents share this concern. A recent U.S. News & World Report survey of 3,000 parents showed that more than half were concerned that their young children were falling behind in their learning.

All this points to the fact that learning loss is a very real epidemic that the pandemic has left in its wake. Today, it’s more important than ever for both parents and schools to seize every opportunity possible to bridge the gap and catch this generation of young learners up to their pre-pandemic trajectories.

This starts in schools, which have faced a host of issues of their own since the pandemic began. Adapting to virtual and blended instruction and facing a historic teacher shortage, many schools have struggled to maintain the status quo, let alone provide the instruction young learners need to catch up on lost learning.

The summer of 2022 is a prime opportunity for schools to bridge that gap, starting with accessing and maximizing the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER).

ESSER is a federal fund through which schools can receive grants to address the impact the pandemic has had on K–12 students, educators and families. These funds can be used for anything that accelerates learning recovery, addresses the social and emotional well-being of students and staff or re-engages students and families who were disconnected from the educational system during the pandemic, among many other applications. Deploying these funds during what will be a crucial summer of learning for students nationwide will give both teachers and students the resources necessary to maximize their learning opportunities.

Many of these funds are earmarked for tutoring because research shows that tutoring has the greatest impact on student learning recovery. So if some schools weren’t prioritizing tutoring programs, they will need to moving forward if they're going to maximize their ESSER funding.

Sylvan Learning, the company for which I serve as vice president of education, is the leading provider of personalized education for K–12 students, specializing in both in-school and after-school supplemental learning. Many schools will lean on educational providers like Sylvan this summer and beyond as they work to help get young learners back up to speed.

Partnering with brands like Sylvan will benefit schools in a number of ways. Not only will they get the help they need to provide individualized education to students who need it most, they will also benefit from Sylvan’s more than 40 years of educational experience, as well as gain access to our more than 10,000 educators across the U.S. and Canada. This is crucial support for schools nationwide that are dealing with an unprecedented teacher shortage. 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 567,000 fewer educators in public schools than there were before the pandemic. Many of Sylvan’s teachers are educators who schools do not currently have access to. ??For instance, we tap into the retired teachers and college students who are studying education and gaining real-world practice under the supervision of experienced teachers. By providing these reinforcements at a time when schools — and students — need them most, Sylvan is doing its best to help bridge the learning gap in today’s students.

It’s been a tough couple of years for just about everybody. But few have been hit harder — and will suffer the negative impacts of this pandemic longer — than our young learners who have fallen behind in the most crucial years of their development. Everyone in our communities and in our society at large has the responsibility to do whatever they can to help this generation of learners rebound and come back stronger, smarter and more prepared for their futures than they were even before the pandemic. 

That’s part of Sylvan’s mission — one I know schools and districts across the country share. Together, with the help of parents and communities nationwide, I believe we can fulfill this mission.

*This brand is a paid partner of 1851 Franchise. For more information on paid partnerships please click here.