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Summer school to begin June 15

Summer school, or Bobcat University (BU), is going to look a lot different this summer.

We are excited to share the new and improved BU with our students and their families. All programming will officially begin on June 15 and extend until July 31.

After the school closure due to COVID-19 since March 5 for our Marshalltown students, we knew that we had to change our model to reach more students and also to present our programming virtually for the first time. The district has tackled these two tasks over the last two months and is ready to roll out a new and improved BU for our current preschool through eighth grade students and a credit recovery program for our high school students.

For the past few summers, a full-day enrichment plus remediation program has run and has been rebranded as Bobcat University. Previously, there had been funding to support Rogers University, but the district at-risk committee has proposed and the school board has supported an expansion from one elementary to all elementary schools in 2018 plus the intermediate in 2019 and the middle school now in 2020. This summer will be the first summer that we are able to support all of our PK-8 schools with programming funded through at-risk dollars and our approach will be two-pronged. All students will be able to keep their Chromebooks at home this summer to help prevent the “summer slide” especially after the last two months of COVID-19.

This summer we will continue to launch brand-new lessons and content weekly every Sunday from June 15 to July 31 for preschool through grade eight. The content will include math, reading, and social studies or science for fifth and sixth only. These lessons will all be loaded into the Learn from Home website that the students have been using since April 13. We have grade level teachers who will be creating engaging, grade level lessons for all students throughout the seven weeks. Any and all students are welcome to access these resources as well as the continued use of the digital platforms ST Math and Lexia Core 5 to stay updated on their reading and math skills.

Students who were below grade level in reading and math were identified in January with mid-year assessments. Those students were then invited at parent-teacher conferences in the first week of March to attend Bobcat University which had been a full-day program consisting of remediation in the morning and community experiences in the afternoon. Given the need to have a virtual program, we now will only offer the remediation portion of the day each morning. There will be an hour of “live” teaching for these students each morning with math and reading instruction and the district has helped with internet access for invited students who do not have Wifi.

Marshalltown CSD is thankful to be able to offer daily learning during seven weeks of Summer 2020. All students can do this asynchronously at the Learn from Home website and invited, at-risk students can do so synchronously, too. Being ready for school in August is a big task given the school closure, so we are communicating widely and often to our MCSD families to encourage them to have their children spend ONE hour per day listening, speaking, reading, writing, doing math, etc. We want all of our students to be “Bobcat Ready”!

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Lisa Stevenson is the Marshalltown Community School District Director of Instruction

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