Metro school district anticipates 1/3 of student population will attend summer school

FULTON COUNTY, Ga. — Fulton County Schools will offer expanded school options this summer to help students who need an extra boost, the superintendent told the county board of commissioners Wednesday.

“This summer, we’re offering the largest, most robust summer school programming that this district has ever offered,” said Dr. Mike Looney. “We’re anticipating up to 30,000 students, that’s about a third of our student population.”

Looney said more teachers have agreed to work the summer programs, which will start in June and last until school resumes in August.

“We’re focused on small group instruction and high-dose interventions and acceleration,” he said.

Looney referenced a study of so-called “learning loss,” which found boys were affected more than girls, minority students were affected more than their white counterparts and that students lost more in reading than in math. He said the district is implementing a six-part strategy to shore up any issues.

“We have done a good job of providing remote instruction, universal remote instruction, but there is no replacement for a teacher in a classroom with students in it, and that personal hands on interaction,” Looney said.

The superintendent also told county leaders vaccinating teachers will play a big role in ensuring schools can stay open for face-to-face learning as the pandemic lingers.

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“As we have stood up the vaccination process for our employees…it has done exceedingly well,” he said.

Wednesday marked the final mass clinic for teachers and staffers getting their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

He said it’s also helpful that students 16 and older are now eligible to get the vaccine.

“We do anticipate having traditional graduations,” he said. “We’re opening up our facilities again for use from outside groups for rentals as we have in the past. And we will be reexamining some of the extracurricular activities that our students and our school committees engage in in our facilities as the temperature rises and the risk of COVID exposure decreases.”

Parent Mira Fisher told Channel 2 Action News she’s been pleased with the school’s efforts and with the teachers who’ve sacrificed so much.

“They’ve tried their hardest,” she said. “The teachers have been so dedicated and so selfless with risking their lives every day going to school and doing their best with the kids.”