Professional DevelopmentSeeing StarsVisualizing and Verbalizing

Making the most of summer learning: Building student performance and teacher expertise

Making the most of summer learning: Building student performance and teacher expertise

Dorit Battaglia is a First Grade teacher in Central Union School District in California.

In a recent Lindamood-Bell Webinar, school leaders shared how their districts have used summer school to not only close the learning gap for some of their most vulnerable students, but to maximize opportunities for job-embedded professional development. 

The webinar, “Growing Student Performance While Building Teacher Expertise”, was moderated by Dave Kiyvyra, Director of Development for Lindamood-Bell for Schools. Instructional leaders from districts across the country who have partnered with Lindamood-Bell shared how summer intervention has been integral to their ongoing student success with the Visualizing and Verbalizing and Seeing Stars programs.  

The leaders, who have used different levels of Lindamood-Bell’s Professional Learning, outlined the steps of their Summer Intervention Plans, including how they work to: 

  • identify students who need a summer learning boost 
  • structure their summer programs
  • keep students engaged and motivated
  • generate parent, student, and teacher buy-in

One of the main questions posed to panelists was how they met the challenge of staffing last year’s summer session when teachers were coming off a grueling school year caused by the pandemic.

According to the panelists, teacher buy-in was not as hard as you would have expected it to be because teachers were really concerned about student performance. The incentive for many educators was two-fold: help students bridge the learning gap and have an opportunity to develop their program skills at a deeper level. 

Summer is an incredible opportunity for teachers to develop their level of expertise. In the course of a school year, teachers have many other roles to fulfill. Because of this, they can only practice a given step, or program, for a certain period of time and it often takes them the entire school year to see the scope and sequence. 

“Those that teach summer school get a deeper level of understanding,” said Pam Siebenmorgen, Principal at Beard Elementary in Fort Smith, Arkansas. “There’s nothing like job-embedded professional development in summer school,” she explained. “In a day’s time, they’re (teachers) basically teaching what a teacher could teach in a week during the regular school year.”

Dorit Battaglia, First Grade Teacher at Stratford Elementary in Central Union, California, spoke about the power of the programs influencing her staff’s decisions. “The teachers at my school were very, very excited” to have the opportunity to use these programs with students in summer school, she said. “These were seasoned teachers with 10-15 years under their belt and they wanted the coaching and wanted to be enriched. They’ve seen it (the programs) work in their classrooms so they knew it was going to work for these kids. The data proves it.” 

To learn more about these successful summer interventions, watch the Leaders in Literacy Webinar at