Column: Avoid ‘summer slide’ during break

As we end the school year, I wanted to take a moment to thank you for allowing us the privilege of teaching your students.

We look forward to seeing our returning students at the start of the 2019-20 school year and wish our graduating seniors a safe and rich journey on this next chapter of their lives.

This summer, we will begin four of the school facility improvement projects approved by our community last November, and I am grateful to know that you trust us to continue to responsibly manage and provide safe learning environments for our students. Funds designated for operational use will provide us the opportunity to continue our efforts to retain and recruit high-quality staff to prepare our students to be successful.

As you and your family are enjoying all that the Stevens Point Area offers during these summer months, we encourage you to take advantage of summer educational opportunities as well. You may be familiar with ‘Summer Slide’, which is associated with the loss of learned skills that can occur between the end of one school year and the beginning of the next. This gap can widen as students don’t have access to educational opportunities in the same way they do when school is in session. The greatest thing you can do to lessen this gap and avoid summer slide for your student is to tap into opportunities to read over the summer break.

Our educational summer programming will begin June 17 and we are excited to welcome the students who will be joining us. The Portage County Public Library offers programming during the summer as does the Boys and Girls Club of Portage County. If you’re looking for books that will come to you, check out the Book Cycle program through Central Wisconsin Reading Council, which makes stops in several Stevens Point neighborhoods.

This is the end of my 33rd year in education and as one year ends, and planning for the next has already begun, I am struck by what we are able to accomplish when we work together for our students and community. We take very seriously the business of providing your students with a strong foundation and look forward to another successful year.

Thank you for your contributions, volunteer hours, support at home and in the classroom. I look forward to partnering with you in the upcoming school year as we prepare each student to be successful.

Craig Gerlach is the superintendent of the Stevens Point Public Area School District.