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After a pandemic year, a new school of thought for summer sessions
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After a pandemic year, a new school of thought for summer sessions

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Dan River Region school leaders are hoping to regain lost ground because of the COVID-19 pandemic with an overhauled summer school program.

Both public school systems in Danville and Pittsylvania County are reengineering the typical programs during a period that’s normally an extended break for students.

“It’s an opportunity for students to catch up due to the pandemic,” said Mark Jones, superintendent in Pittsylvania County. “We’re going over skills that were not covered this year.”

For the first time, the county will provide bus service to the summer session that also will include breakfast and lunch for students.

In the city and county, longer hours and more days are on the summer agenda.

Elementary education and middle school programs will be held for 16 days with a minimum of 80 hours of direct instruction for first through rising sixth graders in the county. The program will be integrated instruction specifically targeting those students who particularly struggled with reading, writing and math.

The county will operate under a 4-day week Monday-Thursday. The program is currently scheduled to start June 21 and run through July 22. The deadline to register for classes for the summer term is 1 p.m. June 7.

The program for middle and high school students is set up similarly to the elementary ones with some minor changes. Two new courses are being offered during the summer term: Algebra 1 part 2 and English 11. Both new courses require a $150 fee to register and will require an SOL test to be taken at the end of session.

All repeat courses will be offered at no cost to the student.

In Danville, the program is geared more toward learning opportunities for students. The school system will provide several programs for varying grade levels over the summer term.

The goal is to “narrow the academic achievement gap with programs that improve students’ educational readiness address unfinished learning and provide engaging enrichment opportunities,” said Anne Moore-Sparks, a spokesperson for Danville Public Schools.

The programs are a mix of remedial learning, preparation for students to start the upcoming school years and camp-style courses designed to learn STEM skills.

Specifically, the sessions are:

Summer Jumpstart, which is geared toward rising kindergartener through eighth grade students, and runs from 8:45 p.m. to noon July 20-30;

Summer Transition Academy, a program for for rising ninth graders, is set from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. June 21- July 9; and

Standard Summer School for high school students will be from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. June 17-July 11.

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