The Central Okanagan School District will launch an expanded summer literacy program for students in July and August. (Contributed)

Summer literacy learning help for Central Okanagan students

School district expands summer learning options

It has been more difficult for some Central Okanagan students to adapt to the learning challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the school district doesn’t want those children to fall further behind.

So additional programs and resources will be made available to students this summer to further foster growth in foundational skill-building (literacy and numeracy), social/emotional learning and learner self-confidence.

As well, further access to mental health services and supports for adolescent youth will be introduced.

In previous years, the school district has offered a play-based Literacy Summer Camp for Grade 1-4 students who need extra tutelage to reduce summer learning loss.

In a report to the board of education, school superintendent/CEO Kevin Kaardal stated district staff, working with school teams, caregivers and community agencies, are in the process of developing priority students to receive specialized learning support this summer.

“Incredible work has been done to support most students through a community approach this year,” Kaardal said.

“Still, given the significant impact of the pandemic, there are a number of students and families requiring additional support. The additional measures being put in place to support priority students during the summer break will help to meet those needs.”

The Literacy Summer Camp, funded by the ministry of education, will return for two weeks, July 12-16 and July 19-23. The camp will operate six hours a day, with up to 40 spaces available at each school site.

Virtual summer camps will also be offered, Aug. 9-13 and Aug. 23-27.

Seven schools will offer this program: Peachland Elementary, Chief Tomat Elementary, A.S. Matheson Elementary, Raymer Elementary, Springvalley Elementary, Pearson Road Elementary, and École Peter Greer Elementary.

Children currently in Grades 1-4 who are not yet meeting grade-level expectations in literacy and identified as a candidate for this program by the school-based team will be invited to register for the summer camps. If necessary, a waitlist will be established.

Participants will be provided with a light breakfast, lunch and other nutritional snacks.

School site libraries will also be open one day per week to facilitate the exchange of reading resources.

Ecole George Pringle Elementary will also host a school-funded literacy intervention program in July for identified priority students.

This program will operate for eight days, three hours per day, to support further literacy skill development, staffed by a teacher and education assistant from the school.

Quigley Elementary will provide a similar school-funded literacy program throughout the summer, for one day a week.

The school library will also be open to the general school community one day per week when the literacy intervention program is operating.

The day sessions will be staffed by a learning assistance teacher, teacher-librarian and library assistant.

The additional programs introduced this summer will be reviewed for uptake and outcomes to determine their return in the summer of 2022 and other measures introduced for assistance learning in the 2021-22 school year.

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