Schools offer summer support for kids

Kids can continue to receive education during the summer through virtual summer programs. — Lucas Thors

Island schools are looking at ways to continue educating and supporting students through the summer, and are identifying new ways to accomplish this.

According to Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School Principal Sara Dingledy, most of the summer programming offered by the high school will be remote. In terms of group programming, most of that work will be conducted online via Zoom. School academic and adjustment counselors are looking at ways to bridge the support gap that can be seen during the summer, when students can regress. Normally, the high school does an in-person summer school for kids who failed, or for kids who need support in any element of their education. Although the final quarter of this school year will not determine whether a student fails, if they were struggling prior to the school closure, that student is still subject to failing

Schools closed on March 13, with the hope they would only be shut for two weeks. Gov. Charlie Baker stepped in and closed schools across the state for three weeks, then ultimately for the remainder of the year.

“We are looking for ways to create a support network for guidance, math, and English, just to keep kids engaged and up to speed,” Dingledy said.

The high school will also be providing virtual language support for students in the English as a Second Language program, and adjustment counselors will be supporting students who are moving into the high school from eighth grade. Every student that has an individualized education plan or a 504 plan is having regular meetings with counselors. 

Dingledy also said the school is looking to create an online orientation program to welcome incoming students to the high school.

Elementary schools are also providing support. The Edgartown School will hold a four-week academic program to supplement its regular in-person program. 

“The purpose of summer school is to keep kids from regressing over the summer,” guidance counselor Eric Butler said. “Teachers will recommend students they are concerned about, and we offer that opportunity to parents.” Kids who are in special education who have extended-year summer programs like speech and language support, speech therapy, occupational therapy, or the like will continue receiving those supports.

Butler said the school will not be offering Zoom classes to students in grades kindergarten through second grade, because officials have determined that virtual learning is difficult for students of that age. The Tisbury School will also offer programming, although Principal John Custer said few details have been confirmed.