With data showing that the pandemic has caused students to struggle with social isolation, mental health and learning loss, Dallas ISD will offer summer camps focused on improving the whole child’s academic and emotional wellbeing.
In addition to offering breakfast and lunch, the summer camps will build in circle time with emotional check-ins, reflective journaling and light exercise breaks such as yoga into each day of summer learning. Dallas ISD schools can opt into offering the summer camps to students. Participating schools will be announced some time in April.
“The way we need to respond to unfinished instruction is to think about the basic needs of our students, such as mental health, wellness and nutrition,” said Deputy Chief Academic Officer Tiffany Huitt. “It’s no secret that our students will engage and perform better academically when their holistic physical and emotional needs are met.”
To help address unfinished learning caused by the pandemic, summer camps will also have small group learning where students can connect with each other while learning new material.
Students can also learn about new technology–such as how to master different tools in Nearpod, Pear Deck, and content based tools–and enjoy fun extracurricular activities.
“Our students will be coming out of a very difficult year that has been trying for everyone,” Deputy Chief of Academics Derek Little said. “We want to acknowledge that fact and do everything we can to ensure the needs of the whole child are being met. We want them to be excited about showing up, connecting with each other, and getting ready for the next school year.”
The summer camps are one Dallas ISD strategy to ensure the pandemic doesn’t cause students to fall too far behind. The district is also providing the funding and opportunity for schools to adopt an alternative calendar with more learning time built into the school year; offering targeted additional resources to campuses and students, such as increased tutoring and mentoring; and ensuring that classroom instruction is high-quality and responds to the unique circumstances created by the pandemic. Dallas ISD is investing up to $100 million over two years in these strategies.