Simplify Summer School by Preparing Early
Summer school gives students an excellent opportunity to catch up on missed credits or get ahead in preparation for the next year. During the summer, students have more flexible schedules to add in enrichment courses that they may not have time for in the fall and spring. For Districts, now is time to start planning for the summer school semester to provide students with these opportunities and have all details in place for an orderly start. Sol Gonzalez, a Curriculum Specialist with Milwaukee Public Schools, knows this best based on years of experience.
Milwaukee Public Schools students have access to high-quality virtual educators for their summer school to learn several world languages, including Spanish, French, German, Chinese Mandarin and American Sign Language (ASL). Proximity Learning live instruction teachers livestream into the classroom every day during summer school to teach their lessons.
The summer school language programs were so popular that the administration expanded and included elementary-age students. They launched a 6-week summer camp to expose younger students to world languages. This year, they will offer American Sign Language to Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd graders and Chinese Mandarin to 3rd, 4th and 5th graders.
Students Impacted by Summer School Programs
Summer school for high schoolers and summer camp for elementary schoolers covers about 900 students in 13 different schools within the district. Elementary students receive a progress grade based on their improvement. High school students earn a letter grade and receive credits toward graduation.
Ms. Gonzalez loves hearing stories from students and parents about their experiences. One young student was so engaged in her summer school ASL class that she went home and taught her family everything she learned each day. Ms. Gonzalez knows students enjoy the summer programs because they have requested ASL year-round instead of only during summer school. These students enjoy the live online teachers and instruction they receive and have a thirst for learning. The district hopes to expand course offerings to meet this need.
Partnering with Proximity Learning
Ms. Gonzalez describes the fruitful relationship developed between the district and Proximity Learning over the last 5 years. Proximity Learning helps Milwaukee Public Schools address their teacher vacancies, including summer school, by providing certified virtual teachers.
“It is amazing. We have been blessed to be able to work with Proximity for the last 5 years. You can’t pass it. You have to do it!”
World language exposure is important to help students grow their skills and compassion. In addition, learning about cultures different from their own expands student worldviews and builds appreciation for uniqueness in people. Ms. Gonzalez is passionate about educating students about different cultures and life experiences.
Milwaukee Public Schools started planning for summer school in the beginning of December to ensure they are prepared for all scenarios and ready to welcome students in June. Ms. Gonzalez says they do not know if summer courses will be in brick and mortar schools or virtual, but they will be prepared either way. They discuss all options and plan every contingency so they are ready.