Saturday, June 16, 2012


As a principal, I am well aware of the dangers associated with students sitting idle during their summer break:
According to the authors of a report from the National Summer Learning Association: 'A conservative estimate of lost instructional time is approximately two months or roughly 22 percent of the school year.... It's common for teachers to spend at least a month re-teaching material that students have forgotten over the summer. That month of re-teaching eliminates a month that could have been spent on teaching new information and skills.'

Therefore, I am a strong supporter of summer programs designed to keep students engaged in learning. I would probably even go so far as to be a proponent for "year round" schooling, with smaller but more frequent breaks spread out throughout the entire calendar year, including the summer.

Ideally, students and families would take advantage of the summer not only to relax and rejuvenate, but also to participate in experiential learning through trips to other cities, countries or to places like museums, zoos, or parks and recreational centers. Visits to the library (or downloads onto eReaders) would allow students to read for pleasure (it actually is pleasurable!); therefore, such trips / downloads would be frequent. Students would be encouraged to venture outdoors, or outfitted with creative toys like Legos or art supplies.

Even though I am a proponent of fighting against the summer slide, I (along with just about every educator across the country) embrace the upcoming 8 weeks of summer "vacation". For me it will provide ample opportunity to plan for the upcoming school year - purchasing new text books and supplies, designing class schedules, revamping / refining policies and procedures, cleaning, doing maintenance work, updating computers / technology, and planning professional development opportunities for my faculty and staff. I can't imagine not having a break during which I try to accomplish these things.

But, probably even more importantly, the summer weeks provide me the opportunity to tap back into the wellspring of inspiration to accomplish what is oftentimes an emotionally, intellectually and physically draining job. I'll listen to music. I'll read (for both business and pleasure!). I'll take some time to be with my family. I'll sleep more. I'll exercise more frequently. I'll pray - for my teachers, my students and our school's families. I'll look for sources of inspiration anywhere and everywhere I can find them.

I'll replenish. I'll rest. I'll refresh.

It won't happen by sitting idle for two months. It can't happen by staying in school year round.

Even Jesus went off by himself to rejuvenate.

Blessings to all for a safe, relaxing, fun and rejuvenating summer!