California Educator

August/September 2021

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Some educators who had been teaching remotely had anxiety about returning to a classroom again, she adds. Summer school was a way to ease back into in-per- son instruction. "I would say summer school was a huge success, and we saw growth in students." David Cuestas, a teacher at Dos Caminos Dual Immersion School, jokes that he "selfishly " decided to t each summ er scho ol so h e could bond with th e incoming eighth graders he' ll be teaching this year. He enjoyed the stimu- lating conversations and student participation that was lacking in online instruction, because many students had their cameras off. " S o m e stu d e n t s i n su m m e r school — especially those who had done distance learning last year — learned how to take responsibility for their work, which is much eas- ier with an adult present," observes the Palmdale Elementary Teachers Association member. "Students learned how to work together and collaborate. It's easier in person than in an online breakout room." It was the first time in his 28-year teaching career that his district offered summer school for dual immersion students, says Cuestas. " It was a great exp erience that prepared e ver y on e for re g u l a r s c h o o l ." Playing catch-up " I w oul dn' t cal l t ea chin g in a p an d emi c lo st tim e, but it felt like I was teaching a year's worth of math and literacy in a month to students who are learning more than just th e academics," says Rick Gallegos. The Hidalgo Elementar y School teacher and Fresno Teach ers A sso ciation m emb er taught four th grade math and literacy during the summer. "A c a d e m i c a l l y, s o m e s t u - d e n t s l e a r n e d t o u s e d i g i t a l t o o l s i n t h e p a n d e m i c , b u t m a n y s t u d e n t s n e g l e c t e d t h e o p p o r t u n i t y t o l e a r n , w h i c h was a missed opportunity." S u m m e r s c h o o l w a s a t i m e of p arent -t ea ch er t eam bui l d- ing and was a " lifeline" toward improving student success, says Gal l ego s. He b eli e ve s thi s w i l l carry over to the new year. Barbara Infante, a teacher at Stratford Elementar y, appreci- ated being able to focus on first g ra d e r s w h o w e re s t r u g g l i n g . Because her summer school was a n i n t e r v e n t i o n p r o g ra m , s h e only had five students. "It was ver y positive not only for students, but for myself," says Infante, who teaches in the town of Stratford near Fresno. "I loved the change of pace. Last year I taught a first and second grade combination class in the morning and then had Zoom class in the afternoon." Infante, a member of the Central Union Elementary Teachers Association, says some students progressed more during a few weeks in summer than during the entire school year online. "It was a very positive ending to a school year that was very, very stressful." " Everybody was tired of being on computers. So I tried to be fun and creative." —YOLANDA STACK, Eastside Teachers Association Fourth graders in Yolanda Stack's classes learned about science, math and art through hands-on activities. 49 A U G U S T / S E P T E M B E R 2 0 21 David Cuestas Barbara Infante Richard Gallegos Yolanda Stack

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