Across Virginia, about $23 million designated for preschool was left on the table because localities — citing limited resources, lack of classroom space and politics — did not contribute the required matching funds to take full advantage of the program. As a result, more than 6,000 disadvantaged children missed the opportunity to go to school before kindergarten.
For years, Jennifer Dresmich, a middle school teacher in Pittsburgh, saw students come back from summer vacation further behind than when they left. Lessons from the prior year seemed to have evaporated under the summer sun. Some students needed weeks, if not months, of review before they were ready to settle into their new grade.
Two-thirds of teachers polled in a recent survey said they spend at least a month reteaching students old material when they return from summer vacation.
The survey, administered by the National Summer Learning Association, asked 500 teachers how much time they typically spend teaching students skills they should have learned and retained from the previous grade. Nearly a fourth (24 percent) said at least five to six weeks, while two-thirds claimed at least three to four.
Repeated studies have shown that when recess is delayed, children pay less and less attention. They are more focusedon days when they have recess. A major study in Pediatrics found that children with more than 15 minutes of recess a day were far better behaved in class than children who had shorter recess breaks or none at all.
In Laconia, N.H., high school principal Steve Beals sees the potential of a schoolwide culture that celebrates learning beyond a traditional classroom.