DuPage Regional Office of Education releases summer acceleration curriculum program
The DuPage Regional Office of Education, led by Dr. Darlene Ruscitti, is offering a free summer-learning curriculum aimed at addressing learning gaps resulting from the pandemic.
This curriculum provides students who need additional support with the resources they need to hit the ground running when school resumes in the fall.
The program was birthed in December of 2020, when the DuPage County ROE reached out to county curriculum leaders to determine the greatest educational needs of students as a result of the pandemic. It was determined that addressing academic setbacks and social-emotional learning (SEL) were the greatest concerns, and districts were excited to work collaboratively to address these needs.
Dr. Katie McCluskey, assistant superintendent of Glen Ellyn District 41, was immediately on board.
"Leaders across the county wanted to develop meaningful ways to address the gaps we were seeing in literacy, math, and SEL. Despite many obstacles, I knew if we partnered together, we could build a data-driven curriculum to help students who need it most," McCluskey said.
Working alongside Ruscitti and district curriculum leaders across DuPage County, McCluskey helped analyze student data to determine essential skills that would create the backbone for the summer acceleration program. Their goal: to maximize summer learning so students who had setbacks during the pandemic could get back on track.
Ruscitti agrees that maximizing summer learning is a priority.
"DuPage County school districts did an extraordinary job of pivoting during a very challenging year, but there were, understandably, students who experienced learning gaps," Ruscitti said.
Those learning gaps, if not addressed, could create challenges in the 2021-2022 school year, Ruscitti explained. "For students to be successful in their next grade level, there is a list of minimal essential skills that are necessary for students to achieve," Ruscitti said.
With this list of skills in mind, the ROE hired literacy and math consultants to work alongside McCluskey as well as instructional coaches, district leaders, and department chairs to collectively develop a summer curriculum. "The collaborative nature of this venture was inspiring, and the end result is both practical and creative," Ruscitti said.
Dr. Anne Roloff, the assistant regional superintendent for educational leadership at the DuPage ROE, says "user friendliness" was a key consideration as they created the curriculum.
"Our desire was to produce a resource that was aligned to the essential skills, but also one that also was easy to implement. After an unprecedented school year, educators needed a summer learning curriculum that was ready to go with no additional costs or fees," Roloff explained.
In addition to math and literacy, all participating districts will have access to a robust social-emotional learning (SEL) program called Positivity Project, which will offer a daily 15-minute lesson via video.
"We know that supporting the social and emotional needs of our students is just as important as their educational needs," McCluskey said. "We are thrilled to partner with Positivity Project, whose character education empowers students to be their best selves by teaching them to be empathetic and self-aware."
Ruscitti is excited about both the academic aspect of the Summer Program and the social-emotional piece. "We want this summer to be a time for students to gain traction as they go into the 2021-2022 school year. Whether they are catching up on their math skills, increasing their reading levels, or building character strength and healthy relationships, our new Summer Acceleration program is on target to help them reach their goals," Ruscitti said.
For more information on the Summer Acceleration Program, visit www.DuPageROE.org.
The DuPage Regional Office of Education is a service organization whose role is to provide high quality service and support to all stakeholders and collectively expend every effort to prepare DuPage County children for the world they will face. In addition to the various services provided directly to educators and schools, the office also provides services and support to community members, private schools, parents, children, business leaders, and others. For more information, visit DuPageROE.org.