Staying Safe, Productive this Summer

Staying Safe, Productive this Summer
Posted on 06/28/2017
Photo of Superintendent Dan Troxell

With a few weeks of summer already checked off the calendar, I wanted to take a moment to discuss a few items that will help our students and families stay safe and productive this summer. While this break can be a much-needed time to relax, spend quality time with friends and make new family memories, it also holds a greater potential for harmful activities and risky behavior.

Despite academic gains during the school year, students who lack access to learning opportunities over the summer fall behind, disproportionately among students from lower-income households, and the loss is cumulative year-to-year. Summer learning loss is most pronounced in the areas of reading, spelling and math, with some disadvantaged students returning to school in the fall roughly 2.6 months behind in math.

Parents and guardians serve as our children’s first and most important teachers, and as such, LISD encourages them to seek out opportunities to practice reading, spelling and math in everyday activities. Find a recipe to make with your kids to practice reading aloud and converting fractions. Watch baseball and calculate batting averages or add the number of errors. Work on spelling “popsicle” or “solstice” while enjoying a summer drive.

Libraries host free activities and access to books. We have summer hours at Steiner Ranch Elementary School and Rouse High School (click here for the Summer Information page). City libraries offer programing for all ages. Families can access books in our digital library from their homes with the Overdrive website or mobile application.

In the same way reading can spark a child’s imagination and fuel curiosity, building some time into each day for unstructured play is an important tool in allowing children to create and explore. Unstructured play is open-ended, child-led play without a particular goal or strategy — things like building forts, playing outside, making their own crafts and building with blocks. Behavioral scientists and educators are seeing increasing evidence that free play is one of the most effective ways for children to learn about independence, self-control, talent development, handling mistakes and emotional growth.

We have seen the power technology can have as a tool for teaching and learning. But building emotional skills through personal interaction can contribute to a well-rounded child. Spend time to find the solution for managing technology time for your family that works best for you.

Time with family and friends needs to be a precious commodity. I know as my son prepares for his freshman year in college while my other son comes home for his summer break from college, I will treasure the time at the breakfast and dinner table. Enjoy your family and talk to your children about the topics of the day, their friends and the things going on in their lives.

We hope you all have a fun, restful, safe and memorable summer. And we are excited to welcome you back Aug. 28 for our best year yet!