Shelby County summer school students ‘really flourished’ under new program

By GINNY COOPER MCCARLEY / Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA—Shelby County middle school students who participated in summer school this year had a different experience than in previous years, according to Middle School Coordinator Jenni Goolsby.

Goolsby delivered an instruction report to the Shelby County Board of Education during their June 26 meeting, highlighting the differences in the new approach.

The new program utilized A Plus standards recovery, a software program that allows students to take an assessment and complete lessons based on standards that the schools have used for the past several years, as well as direct instruction in the subject matter and weekly sessions designed to “foster positive social skills,” according to information Goolsby shared with the board.

During the 20-day program, students spent time working in small groups, learning one-on-one with teachers and completing A Plus material.

“It was a much richer experience for them,” Goolsby said. “These kids just needed some one-on-one instruction and they really flourished.”

The students who participated in summer school offered a lot of positive feedback, Gooslby told the board, and shared several quotes from students who had completed the program.

“Summer school last year didn’t help any. We had to cram so many lessons that we wouldn’t remember any but this year we have an actual teacher to teach us instead of ten information slides on a computer,” summer school student Andrew T. wrote on the comments handed to the board.

The 65 students will not be left on their own following the summer school program. Before school starts, Goolsby will meet with the counselor and principal at each middle school to review their students’ progress and discuss what each student’s intervention will be necessary going into the school year.

“We want to make sure there is somebody behind them making sure what they’ve gained during summer school, they won’t lose that,” Goolsby said. “We’re being very intentional about our efforts.”

The new program was a “labor of love” by the five teachers from across Shelby County who helped the students.

“These teachers were just very passionate,” Goolsby said.