Some schools are looking at extra help for struggling students. The Chicago Public Schools announced that they will built help into the school day. This will change the way they promote children in key grades. They are not sure, at this time how this change will affect summer-school enrollment.

Help for Struggling StudentsAnnette Gurley, CPS’ chief of teaching and learning, said the district is taking a more supportive approach for children who struggle in three key grades: third, sixth and eighth grades.

Since the state has changed its standardized test for elementary school students to reflect the new Common Core curriculum, Gurley said the district needed to change how it decides when children should be held back a grade — or how to help them be promoted to the next.

“Our focus is on support,” she said. “The goal is not to hold students back. The goal is to provide the supports for the students.”

The current two-tier model that considers statewide Illinois Standard Achievement scores and grades will morph into three tiers this school year and lean on a district-administered test. Previously, children who had a C or below in math or reading or both on their final report cards — whether they scored well or poorly on standardized tests — had to attend summer school.

Going forward, some of those students will be promoted only if they pass a yet-to-be-redesigned summer school and a summer exit exam, and even then will only be “promoted with support,” Gurley said.

That means the children who struggled could get weekly intervention sessions during the longer school day or access to individualized instruction, including practice on computers, schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett said. Some might need an extra adult in the classroom, she said.

Some neighborhood schools that suffered deep budget cuts have reported laying off math specialists and reading coaches, but Byrd-Bennett said paying for the extra academic support has “not been a concern that’s been raised to us” by individual schools.

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