By Brenda Combs, EdD
Online Faculty, College of Education
That is a phrase that many teachers, students and parents look forward to hearing at the end of every school year. The thought of time away from teaching, homework, grading papers and lesson plans is often a great sense of accomplishment and relief!
However, many students lose a great deal of their academic skills during this break. This keeps students from reaching their full potential, and leaves teachers re-teaching last year’s skills at the start of the new school year.
Both teachers and students can benefit from year-long learning opportunities. Below is a list of alternative learning facilities and options that allow the process of teaching and learning to continue through the summer:
Alternative Learning Facilities
- National Summer Learning Association – Works with communities by providing access to high quality summer learning opportunities across the country.
- Sylvan Learning Center – Offers STEM camps for kids with core curriculum classes in reading, algebra and writing.
- The Electric Company Summer Learning Program – A six-week multimedia program with 24 sessions. There are four 90-minute sessions per week
- Think Stretch – Helps students grasp onto concepts that were taught throughout the school year. Parents and teachers can download summer workbooks for their students.
K-12 Online Public Schools:
- Arizona Virtual Academy – Individualized learning plans are developed for each student by state-certified teachers, offering over 240 courses tailored to their specific needs.
- Insight Academy of Arizona – Features block scheduling, credit recovery and an extra level of support both academically and emotionally.
- Primavera Online High School – Provides rigorous and personalized education in a highly interactive learning environment.
Learning Resources for Teachers
- Matific – This is a great math program that is easy to implement. It is a highly effective and engaging free math teaching tool. The curriculum is aligned with activities that empower your teaching!
- Edutopia – Provides teachers with real-world information and community connections.
- National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC): Summer Learning for Teachers – Helps teachers discover new approaches, new learning activities and strategies to add to your teaching toolbox!
- Fund for Teachers – Supports educators to develop skills, knowledge and confidence that impact student’s achievement. Fund for Teachers also provides information about teaching opportunities around the globe.
- Reading Rockets Summer Ideas for Teachers – Access the “virtual beach bag” of activities to help launch summer educational activities and fun experiences. Teachers can find downloadable resources to offer students and parents to ensure summer learning is a gain rather than a loss!
Year-long learning provides opportunities for growth, development and personal enrichment. These programs and resources focus on student learning to help students keep current with their academic skills, while allowing teachers the chance to develop curriculum that will promote student engagement and achievement.
Want more tips for helping your students learn all year long? Check out our recent blog post about creating your own summer schedule.
More About Dr. Combs:
Dr. Brenda Combs has been in the field of education for 14 years. She has a bachelor’s degree in human services, a master’s degree in special education and a doctorate in organizational leadership. Dr. Combs’ journey has received national coverage, including an article in “Reader’s Digest” and interviews on CNN News, NBC’s “Today Show” and Oprah XM Radio. She has also been named a distinguished teacher by former First Lady Laura Bush. Dr. Combs is a special education director at an alternative high school and an online fulltime faculty member at Grand Canyon University.