Record number of students participating in DCSS summer learning program

·2 min read

Jun. 27—ALBANY — More than 7,300 students have signed up to participate in the Dougherty County School System's RACE To Learn Summer Learning Program, district officials say.

Nearly 4,300 students signed up for the second session alone. That number compliments the thousands of students who participated in the first session of the program, which combines in-person classroom learning with fun, hands-on activities such as robotics, coding and outside activities.

RACE to Learn, which stands for Remediate, Accelerate, Credit-Recovery and Enrichment, is a new program aimed at helping students who were impacted by the pandemic either catch up on the learning that they may have missed during the past school year or get a jump on the next school year.

"This is an exciting opportunity for our students and families," Superintendent Kenneth Dyer said. "I couldn't be more pleased that people are taking advantage of the in-person learning and fun activities that we have planned for them."

Schools and districts across the country are struggling with pandemic-caused learning loss that students have experienced either through direct impacts due to COVID-19 or challenges associated with virtual learning.

With the average daily COVID-19 cases at their lowest levels since the start of the pandemic, school officials are working to get students who may have primarily participated in virtual learning during the 2020-2021 school year back in-person in a school environment ahead of the start of the 2022 school year.

While the emphasis on classroom academics is a priority, students are also learning in new and different ways including through field trips, which were postponed at the start of the pandemic. Schools are also working into their schedules "Fun Fridays," where students get time to do things like extended outdoor time, water play and more.

"When learning is fun, students will be engaged in all aspects of learning," Associate Superintendent for Academic Services Cheryl Smith said. "We want to ensure that students are fully engaged and find purpose in the experiences we are providing."

Dyer has said that he intends to release the DCSS plan to return to full in-person instruction for the 2021-2022 school year within the next few weeks. That being said, the district still intends to maintain many of its COVID-19 safety protocols that helped to keep cases low in the DCSS last school year.

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