Reimagining Summer School to Help Close Learning Gaps

The 2021 summer school program at New Foundations Charter School, a K-12 public charter school located in the Holmesburg neighborhood of Philadelphia, looked different than it had in previous years. Instead of only hosting students who were required to make-up or retake classes, the school invited students who needed additional learning support.

This new summer school approach was an opportunity to assess where the New Foundations students were, as well as provide additional instruction, after the challenging, pandemic-laden 2020-21 school year. “We knew many of our students had not learned everything they needed to enter the next school year on grade level, so we wanted to utilize all academic programs and tools available to close as much of the gap as we could,” said Lydia Glassie, New Foundations CEO, and the former Director of Investments at Philadelphia School Partnership.

New Foundations’ teachers and leaders gathered useful information during the summer program that will inform their plan for the upcoming 2021-22 school year. Educators had more time to use elements of blended learning and one-to-one instruction, and find best practices that will be incorporated in the intervention support made available to students in the fall.

“The summer program gave us an in-depth look at where our students are and what they need to help them grow throughout the year,” said CEO Glassie. “Although the changes were made in response to the COVID pandemic, I think we’ll be looking to make our revised summer program a standard practice in the future.”

PSP provided New Foundations an expansion grant in 2014 to add more open seats to their school.

New Foundations High School students Sylvia, Anthony, Brianna and Matthew participate in a summer learning activity led by Ms. Thomas and Ms. Davis.

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