MARION COUNTY, Fla. – The Marion County School District said its summer learning program was created to help students who were struggling through distance learning. It’s also a way for teachers and parents to get a better idea of what things will look like for the upcoming school year.
Florida students have been online learning since this spring when the coronavirus pandemic arrived.
"It's almost like a soft opening. To kind of get them back in the classroom. The small group allows you to meet their needs," said Ocala teacher Bradi Anderson.
Anderson is a 3rd grade teacher at Ocala Springs Elementary. She is preparing to open her classroom to a dozen students next week.
"Not only will they be catching up on academics over the summer term, but they're also going to be getting back into a schedule and having a relationship with their peers and teachers," said Anderson.
More than 3,300 students from Kindergarten through 6th grade and 9th graders were invited by their teachers for a special summer learning program.
"We've been checking our lists, looking at school data, checking attendance from distance learning," said Principal Michelle Cino.
Students with low participation in distance learning and those with low grades were identified for the program. Anderson said she noticed a deficit in reading specifically. Along with academics, the summer curriculum includes social emotional learning.
“Helping students deal with some of the emotions they may have an the uncertainty of these times,” said Anderson.
During the summer program, each school will be following the new safety and health guidelines put forth by the CDC and school board. Desks are spaced out and sanitized. Each student will get their own materials to use. The summer program will last three weeks and includes transportation and meals. Classes will run Monday through Thursday during the summer program.
The school district is also offering online credit recovery options for middle and high school students.
Next week, parents in Marion County will have to decide if they’re sending their kids to a brick and mortar school or use the online platform for the upcoming school year.