The North Carolina State Board of Education approved $70 million in federal funds in early June for summer programs aimed at students in kindergarten through fourth grade who need extra reading and math instruction due to school closures caused by COVID-19.
The Remediation and Summer Jump Start funding, which came from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, provides school districts, including Orange County Schools and Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, with resources to provide additional instruction.
According to a North Carolina Department of Public Instruction press release, $35 million in funding will be distributed based on the percentage of students in second and third grades during the 2019-20 school year who had not met their grade-level benchmark in reading.
The release stated districts are being asked to consider guidelines by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and Centers for Disease Control when considering whether or not to have in-person curriculum.
In the release, JB Buxton, chairperson of the board’s Student Learning and Achievement Committee, said the program was meant to give students in need of the most academic support a chance to catch up before the school year starts this fall.
Chris Gammon, executive director of curriculum and instruction at Orange County Schools, said in an email that students in OCS’ virtual Summer Jump Start programs will connect with their teachers and peers through both live lessons and pre-recorded lessons that can fit their schedules. Because each student has individual needs, they will follow personalized learning paths and have direct instruction and support from their teacher.
“We are excited to pair our students with teachers whose expertise and training will support the learners during Summer Jump Start while also accommodating the needs of our families,” Dr. Gammon wrote in an email.
In the same email, Gammon said teachers will be available for individualized and small group student support following each instructional day. Each daily session will take place at different time slots depending on the availability of teachers and families.
Jessica O’Donovan, assistant superintendent of instructional services at Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, said Summer Jump Start is a semi-replacement of Read to Achieve, a summer reading camp put on in previous years for third grade students who had not yet met the grade-level benchmark.