BCSD unveils revamped summer school plans

March 27, 2019 /

After making a controversial decision to cancel summer school classes, and then reinstating them weeks later, Bakersfield City School District officials determined a curriculum Monday for what its upcoming summer program would look like.

Improving English language arts and mathematics scores are paramount in the district, which has a 27 percent English Learner population, said Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services Mark Luque.

“We understand literacy is priority in our district,” Luque said. “Literacy has to be a priority for our children to promote a better citizen in future years.”

The program will be offered at Casa Loma Elementary, Longfellow Elementary, Stella Hills Elementary and Emerson Middle School — four of the state’s 781 lowest performing schools in California in the 2018-19 school year, according to a list published by the California Department of Education.

“Our work over the next couple weeks is to identify students for placement in the program,” Luque said.

The district announced the summer learning program last week after notifying staff in December it planned to cancel summer school. Now, BCSD is able to offer a 16-day summer learning program thanks to a Comprehensive Support and Improvement Grant worth more than $664,000.

“Our summer program has to be just as solid as it is in the school year,” said district Superintendent Harry ‘Doc’ Ervin. “We are trying to build a model that will be sustainable for years to come. We hope everyone is patient with our efforts.”

The district plans to monitor student growth during the summer learning program to determine the value of the program.

Students attending the four schools are the only students able to attend the summer learning program.

Students in other schools, however, will have other opportunities, Luque said.

The district is continuing to offer its Special Education Extended School Year Program at McKinley Elementary and Emerson Middle; its Migrant Education Program at Longfellow Elementary; and is offering an Agriculture Academy summer program at McKinley.

BCSD is also partnering with the Kern County Library this summer to encourage reading. Students can participate in summer reading challenges and field trips to the libraries. Officials say they hope to have school libraries open as well.  

“Our goal is to turn our schools into opportunities for families to read as well,” Luque said. “Families can stop by, have a meal and go to the library and read.”

The district is preparing a summer guide to help parents find summer activities, resources and information for students.

Elizabeth Sanchez

Elizabeth Sanchez is the program associate for South Kern Sol. She can be reached at elizabeth@southkernsol.org.