UPDATE: School list added below. Also, some schools have summer programs and additionally chose to open their libraries as well. Call your school to see if it is open.
Thirteen Palm Beach County school libraries won’t be closing when the school year ends next week. Instead, the district aims to make them hubs not only for summer reading selections but also vital internet connections for students who might not otherwise have one.
This is just one tactic the school district is enlisting in the battle to prevent what educators around the country know as the “summer slide,”
That’s not a water park ride, that’s the predictable educational backsliding that happens during the long, classroom-free days of summer and can cost some students two or three years of progress by the time they get to fifth grade.
Research suggests that middle-income student still make gains over the summer the equivalent to a month in school. But low-income students tend to fall behind two to three months. Superintendent Robert Avossa said Wednesday, that students whose native language isn’t English see the biggest slips.
The district chose to open the libraries in 13 schools in some of the county’s poorest neighborhoods in West Palm Beach, Riviera Beach and the Glades. Check back for a list of schools when it becomes available.
The libraries will be staffed with people who can not only help student find a good book, but also get students online to use any one of several computer based learning programs for subjects including reading, math and science.
Additionally, the district worked with various summer camps in the county, including places like the YMCA and community centers, to make sure they had access to the same online educational tools for free and were trained in how to use them, said Chief Academic Officer Keith Oswald.
The need to prevent this academic slide was evident last week, when the state released the results of the Florida Standards Assessment tests in reading and writing for third grade.
“Our third grade scores really aren’t where they need to be,” Avossa said Wednesday. “We have about 52 percent of our students reading on grade level and that number is just not high enough.”
Reading scores across the county do pick up in grades four through six, he noted. But the achievement gap remains.
Parents take note: Older students aren’t immune and some, particularly those heading from middle school to high school, have a summer reading assignment, Avossa said. Students who have take the PSAT also have access to the online Khan Academy and can practice their math skills and hone new ones there.
Glades Central High