For each section of this document, key resources are included to assist school districts with planning summer learning programs. The lists are not exhaustive. These resources provide sample tools and checklists for district and school leadership and planning teams, as well as considerations for designing summer learning opportunities in the context of the pandemic.
- If implementing a shorter workday, how will you structure contracts to ensure collaborative planning time for summer learning instructors?
- In which ways can you leverage community partnerships (including county or local parks and recreation staff, and arts and theater partners) to enhance academic and enrichment activities?
- Morning time may focus on core content and skills, but afternoon enrichment sessions can be delivered in partnership with community-based organizations to incorporate social emotional learning and wellness activities.
- How can you leverage community resources to offer thematic, project-based learning that is aligned with the priority content you identified?
- How will you structure teachers’ time to allow for both individual student check-in time and the opportunity to assess student work and provide high-quality feedback?
- If summer is used as an opportunity to pilot a robust, rapid-response NJTSS process, how will the district allow time for the team to test out new and intensive systems?
- How will staff be compensated for time worked outside of existing workday agreements?
- Are multiple schedules needed to meet the needs of students in specific programs, such as extended school year programs for students with disabilities, as compared to students present for summer credit recovery, per N.J.A.C. 6A:32-10.4(d)?
Curriculum plays an important role in how students are taught and evidence shows that a high-quality, standards-aligned curriculum can have a significant positive impact on student achievement. Teachers and curriculum supervisors will need to determine evidence-based content priorities in mathematics and literacy to focus on throughout summer programming. The NJDOE encourages educators to take advantage of the Instructional Units in ELA and Mathematics, jointly developed by the NJDOE and New Jersey educators. Instruction should be focused on prioritized grade-level instructional content for ELA/literacy and mathematics, and these units can help focus the discussions for educators at every grade level.
In addition to the above, NJDOE collaborated with New Jersey educators over the past school year to identify prerequisite concepts and skills associated with each of the Instructional Units in ELA and Mathematics. The purpose of the Prerequisite Concepts and Skills is to determine the type of individualized instruction and supports that might be needed at the start of a unit to meet students where they are. These documents reflect the order and arrangement of the instructional units, identify focus standards, and support educators in the identification of any conceptual or skill gaps that might exist in a student’s understanding. These documents allow educators to identify opportunities for learning acceleration and can support the selection of priority content to address through a summer learning program.
- Which standards, skills, or competencies will be the foci for each grade level? In which ways will formative, interim/benchmark, and summative assessment results collected throughout the course of the 2020-2021 school year guide the content priorities selected for summer learning and the focus for learning acceleration?
- How tightly aligned are your instructional materials to the NJSLS Prerequisite Concepts and Skills? How will less-aligned materials be modified or reconsidered to better support instruction?
- Which NJSLS-aligned instructional activities will best engage students?
- Can grade-level standards from other content areas be integrated to support meaningful interdisciplinary connections?
- Are there opportunities for student choice or project-based learning experiences?
- Will learning activities be active and meaningful, promote collaboration, expand student horizons and build mastery?
- In what ways were student voices elevated and community partnerships leveraged in the design of the summer program?
- How will you anchor the program within the community, with tangible support from families and community-based organizations to maximize resources and provide the best overall experience for students?
- What modifications will be needed to ensure access to the content for all student groups?
- Howwillthe content selected for summerlearningprogram acceleratestudentlearninginfall2021?
- How will the curricular materials be adapted to support differentiated instruction and modified to implement a student’s IEP to the greatest extent possible?
- How will you support teachers to plan and use effective formative assessment practices as a primary means of data collection to inform instructional decisions? How will you deepen their understanding and support their engagement in formative practices?
- How will students in grades K–2 who have not mastered foundational skills be identified and supported in meeting grade-level content expectations prior to fall 2021?
- How will summer 2021 instruction target specific standards/skills in mathematics and ELA?
- How will summer learning curriculum choices jump-start student learning for fall 2021 through a focus on prerequisite concepts and skills?
- What additional supports will be employed for students who need additional help, such as high-dosage tutoring or technology-based programs, to promote daily reading and mathematics practice that is personalized for each student?
- What additional supports will be employed for students who experience unfinished learning within the context of the summer program(s)?
- Instructional Units in ELA and Mathematics
- Prerequisite Concepts and Skills in English Language Arts and Mathematics
- Achieve the Core: Successful Instruction in ELA
- Priority Instructional Content in English Language Arts/Literacy and Mathematics
- OpenSciEd: Phenomenon-based Instructional Units
High Quality Curricula for ELA & Mathematics Resources
Assessing Student Progress Resources
- How will the district ensure that teachers are prepared to build strong relationships with students; that they are able to express care, challenge growth, provide support and share power; and that these relationship-building actions are done with an equity lens— meaning that they support positive racial, cultural and ethnic identity development?
- How will the district ensure that teachers will have the time necessary to understand what students learned while attending school remotely?
- How will lessons be delivered in accordance with student 504 plans or IEPs? How will teachers and support staff provide appropriate supports and services for these learners and their families?
- How will you maintain communication with students experiencing homelessness or home instability?
- How will you support those students in accessing instructional materials, meal options, and other essential needs for summer learning?
- How will you maintain communication with multilingual learners, their families, and their communities, including outreach for participation?
- How will teachers and support staff provide linguistically appropriate supports for summer learning activities?
- How will you support students who may have specific needs or courses that are not provided in their home districts?
- If the district chooses to allow for enrollment of other students and charges tuition pursuant to N.J.A.C. 6A:32-10.2, what is the plan for communicating and implementation of enrollment for those students?
- What are your current policies and practices for shared services agreements?
Equity and Access Resources
- Educating All Learners Alliance: Resource library
- Key questions for equitable distance learning (Minnesota Department of Education)
- Remote learning guidance for English learners (Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE))
- Specialized supports for students with diverse learning needs (TNTP)
- Strategies for teaching multilingual learners online (WIDA)
Resources from NJDOE
LEAs are urged to maximize the use of ESSER II funding as applicable for summer programming. Applicable use of ESSER II funding is afforded for the following allowable activities:
- Activities authorized under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006, the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, or the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act.
- Coordination of preparedness and response efforts of local educational agencies with State, local, Tribal, and territorial public health departments, and other relevant agencies, to improve coordinated responses among such entities to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.
- Providing principals and others school leaders with the resources necessary to address the needs of their individual schools.
- Activities to address the unique needs of low-income children or students, children with disabilities, English learners, racial and ethnic minorities, students experiencing homelessness, and foster care youth, including how outreach and service delivery will meet the needs of each population.
- Developing and implementing procedures and systems to improve the preparedness and response efforts of local educational agencies.
- Training and professional development for staff of the local educational agency on sanitation and minimizing the spread of infectious diseases.
- Purchasing supplies to sanitize and clean the facilities of a local educational agency, including buildings operated by such agency.
- Planning for and coordinating during long-term closures, including for how to provide meals to eligible students, how to provide technology for online learning to all students, how to provide guidance for carrying out requirements under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. 1401 et seq.) and how to ensure other educational services can continue to be provided consistent with all Federal, State, and local requirements.
- Purchasing educational technology (including hardware, software, and connectivity) for students who are served by the local educational agency that aids in regular and substantive educational interaction between students and their classroom instructors, including low-income students and students with disabilities, which may include assistive technology or adaptive equipment.
- Providing mental health services and supports.
- Planning and implementing activities related to summer learning and supplemental afterschool programs, including providing classroom instruction or online learning during the summer months and addressing the needs of low-income students, students with disabilities, English learners, migrant students, students experiencing homelessness, and children in foster care.
- Addressing learning loss among students, including low-income students, children with disabilities, English learners, racial and ethnic minorities, students experiencing homelessness, and children and youth in foster care, of the local educational agency, including by—
- Administering and using high-quality assessments that are valid and reliable, to accurately assess students’ academic progress and assist educators in meeting students’ academic needs, including through differentiating instruction.
- Implementing evidence-based activities to meet the comprehensive needs of students.
- Providing information and assistance to parents and families on how they can effectively support students, including in a distance learning environment.
- Tracking student attendance and improving student engagement in distance education.
- School facility repairs and improvements to enable operation of schools to reduce risk of virus transmission and exposure to environmental health hazards, and to support student health needs.
- Inspection, testing, maintenance, repair, replacement, and upgrade projects to improve the indoor air quality in school facilities, including mechanical and non-mechanical heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems, filtering, purification and other air cleaning, fans, control systems, and window and door repair and replacement.
- Other activities that are necessary to maintain the operation of and continuity of services in local educational agencies and continuing to employ existing staff of the local educational agency.
- Given local, state, and federal resources, how do you anticipate funding your summer learning plan (e.g. Title I, II, and IV funding streams, IDEA funds, ESSER, private and public grants, etc.)?
Districts should consider utilizing ESSER funds to support summer programming. In addition to their ESSER II Fund allocations, school districts received grants to support mental health and grants to support learning acceleration.
- Will summer learning planning efforts build in time and funding to innovate and try out programming that could become the “new normal” in fall 2021?
- Are there state agencies, grant-funded providers, foundations, private and/or faith-based organizations in your community that you might be able to partner with to fill funding gaps and/or support wraparound services?
- How will you define attendance during summer learning?
- How will you set expectations for minimum attendance?
- Will you offer courses both in-person and virtually? Have you considered contracting with community providers to extend your district’s capacity to provide academic and enrichment activities?
- How will you incorporate parents/guardians into the planning for summer learning?
- How will you collect and collate attendance data? Who will oversee this process? (This will be important if you intend to use ESSER or ARP funds to support your summer learning program).
- How will you follow up with students and their families when a student is absent or a family is unresponsive?
- How will the attendance policies attend to educational equity for all students in the district?
- Will you provide check-in opportunities, counseling and/or other support and related services over the summer?
- How will you communicate to all staff about how and to whom referrals for wraparound services (e.g. counseling, medical services, food resources) should be directed?
- If you are enrolling a larger student group than in previous years to account for greater need for summer learning and/or social-emotional connection, how will you select and fund additional staff, both certificated and non-certificated, to support those additional students?
- How might the district enhance its support for and expectations of the NJTSS to ensure it is appropriately resourced to provide rapid response and support to all educators and students?
How will you define the roles of principals and other administrators responsible for summer learning in a remote context?
- Will you expect them to observe instruction and provide feedback to teachers?
- Will principals be expected to connect regularly with students and families?
- How will principals support the social and emotional needs of school personnel?
Working with Partners
- If you work with community partners, how will you communicate and align your whole child supports (e.g. use the same tech platforms, share data, communicate jointly and consistently with teachers and families)?
- How will you partner with local educator preparation programs to provide additional supports for notice teachers?
Like students, educators have faced a myriad of traumatic experiences and stressors over the past year and may need social and emotional support to work effectively. It is important that schools thoughtfully plan for how to best support the well-being of educators who may provide staffing during your summer program
As you build staff supports in your summer learning plan, consider the following guiding questions:
- How will you engage summer teachers and support staff prior to the start of summer learning in order to build a community of support?
- What opportunities will the district provide teachers and staff to reflect on the successes and challenges they faced in their teaching experiences this past school year? How will that information shape the social and emotional supports schools will provide for teachers and staff during the summer session and beyond?
- How will summer teachers and other staff participate in activities to support their social-emotional well-being?
- What supports will be available for teachers and other staff to interact with their peers and/or their supervisors to build and maintain collaboration and connections?
- What processes will you put in place to ensure that educators are aware of the supports and resources available to them?