School system planning summer program

Published 9:25 pm Thursday, April 15, 2021

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Gov. Roy Cooper last week signed into law a bill that requires public school districts to offer in-person summer school courses targeted toward K-12 students whose academic performance has suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic.

House Bill 82 says school districts should identify student who are at risk of academic failure and prioritize them for participation in the program. Students who aren’t identified as at-risk can also participate as long as space is available.

In all cases, participation is optional.

Beaufort County Schools’ plan is still in development, but Chief Academic Officer Andrea Lilley says the district’s summer school will run from June 21 through July 30, and it will include 150 hours of instruction, which meets the requirement established in H.B. 82.

Each school day will run from 7:45 a.m. to 3:15 p.m., and will include academic classes as well as enrichment activities.

The school system will offer bonuses and incentives to teachers who sign up to teach summer courses. Some recently retired teachers will be able to sign up as well. Per state law, teachers who retire under the Teachers’ and State Employees’ Retirement System typically have to wait through a six-month separation-from-service period for their retirement to become effective. For teachers who retired between Dec. 1, 2020, and March 1, 2021, and want to work in the summer program, that period will be shortened to one month.

All teachers and school personnel working the summer program will be employed as temporary employees on a contract basis for the period of the program.

BCC is partnering with Cadence Learning, a national summer school program that helps teachers craft and execute quality summer learning plans.

H.B. 82 says kindergartners who attend the summer program will be exempt from retention for the 2021-22 school year. As for all other students who are retained for the upcoming school year, their principals will reassess their promotion eligibility upon completion of the program.

The district is required to provide daily transportation and meal services for students in the summer program.

The State Board of Education will provide competency-based assessments that K-8 students will take at the beginning of the program and at the conclusion of the program. The results of those assessments will be provided to each student’s teachers of record for the upcoming school year, and the results will also be reported to the state.

Lilley says official summer school plans must be submitted to the N.C. Department of Public Instruction by April 28.  She will come back to the school board with a final draft that they can vote on. The school board is scheduled to meet again at 5:30 p.m. on April 27.