Getting Ready for Summer – Part II

In this article, we’ll explore the ways that teachers and parents can prepare middle school-aged children for continued learning over the summer as they get ready to move to middle school. Similar to elementary school students, a lot of time and effort gets invested in helping middle school students master the skills they need to be successful in their new learning environment.

According to a recent study published in the American Educational Research Journal, middle school-aged students tend to lose anywhere between 17%-28% of their English Language Arts gains for the year and 25%-34% of their math gains every summer. This means that students lose ground after each successive school year.  If no summer learning bridge is built, by the time they finish middle school, the losses are significant.

Low income students tend to lose more learning through the summer because most don’t have access to learning resources.  By the time a low-income student leaves middle school and enters high school, their total learning loss over successive summer vacations accounts for about two-thirds of the achievement gap as compared to their middle-income peers. 

Summer learning loss is preventable for all students regardless of the economic background.  To prepare middle school-aged students for the next school year, and prevent summer learning loss for students, middle school teachers often:

  • Meet with teachers from the upper-grade levels to prioritize certain skills that students need to succeed in the upcoming school year.   
  • Identify which students would benefit from early intervention programs
  • Use data to determine which students need individual or small group skills mastery sessions
  • Communicate with parents and offer options for enrichment opportunities over the summer
  • Prepare short story or novel study reading guides. 
  • Build math, science, and social studies packets
  • Review key standards during the last few weeks of class
  • Host orientation programs so students can meet their new teachers

For students entering high school, there are a number of steps teachers and parents can take to get these students emotionally and mentally prepared for the transition. For example, they can tour the new school building, meet the teachers, have discussions about how high school credits work, the graduation requirements in their district, and the various expectations of high school students.

Going to high school is one of the biggest transitions students will face during their K-12 school years.  While students are typically passed along each year, regardless of their grades in elementary and middle school, high school students must pass their classes in order to receive credit and move on to the next grade level. The academic requirements are far more rigorous in high school.