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CMS Leaders Discuss Summer School Incentives For Teachers And Students

Students at Carmel Middle School returned to in-person classes this week.
Nancy Pierce
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools
Students at Carmel Middle School returned to in-person classes this week.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools officials discussed plans Friday for summer school that will help students make up for pandemic learning setbacks.

Under House Bill 82, which passed the House unanimously this week, summer school would be mandatory for school districts but optional for teachers and students. Chief Academic Officer Brian Kingsley told the school board it’s vital — but challenging — to get strong teachers and at-risk students to sign up.

One hurdle: Teachers are exhausted after a year that has required them to switch between online and in-person instruction. Many are now doing both at the same time.

"We’re trying to be mindful of teacher burnout as we’re thinking about this work," Kingsley told board members at a budget work session.

Pay for the summer session will have to be attractive, officials agreed. No pay scale has been set.

Board members Carol Sawyer and Margaret Marshall suggested offering attendance incentives for students and families. Marshall said private partners might be able to help.

"Could we say if a family participated all summer, would you get broadband access for the next six months? ... Would you get a computer?" Marshall asked.

Summer school is normally limited by funding, offered only in a few locations and grade levels. The proposed bill would require offering it to students at all schools and grade levels, with COVID-19 relief money available to pay for it.

CMS leaders say they’re committed to a summer program that serves as a bridge between this school year and next. They haven't said where the locations will be.

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Ann Doss Helms has covered education in the Charlotte area for over 20 years, first at The Charlotte Observer and then at WFAE. Reach her at ahelms@wfae.org or 704-926-3859.