Schools in Chattanooga region prepare for summer school

Staff Photo by Robin Rudd/ The Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy was photographed on July 18, 2019. CGLA and other Chattanooga-area schools will continue their usual summer school sessions but with COVID-19 precautions.

As school winds down for the year, schools, districts and tutoring groups are preparing for summer learning and catch-up from the past year of pandemic learning.

In January, the state Legislature passed the Tennessee Learning Loss Remediation and Student Acceleration Act, requiring school districts to provide learning camps for students and prioritize students who scored at "approaching" or "below" in their most recent state exams.

Both summer learning camps for grades 1-5 and learning-loss bridge camps for grades 6-8 need to include six hours of programming each day, with at least one hour set aside for reading, math, intervention and physical activity.

Hamilton County Schools is continuing Summer REACH, expanding that program to more sites across the school district. The district also implemented an online program, Math Matters, for students to strengthen their math skills.

Chattanooga Preparatory School has expanded its programs to more days and more activities. In previous years, summer school was still four weeks in the month of June, but it will now run for five days a week from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. Last year's program was remote, but summer school this year will be in person, CEO Brad Scott said.

"The state is requesting it, the state department of education, that schools add summer camp-like environments, and we want our students to have fun during summer school - not that academics is not fun in classes, but we also want them to engage in physical education and activities," Scott said. "So we want kids to also have that physical activity in their day to break it up and not be just doing one thing all day, [to ensure] that there's various different classes, clubs and activities that students can engage in to really elevate the student experience in summer school."

Activities will include soccer, basketball, chess, yoga and more, and the school is encouraging students not in summer school to participate in programs such as Bridge Scholars, the Boys and Girls Club and YMCA activities.

Bradley County Schools also has expanded typical summer school for elementary school students through seventh grade. It will take place four days a week over four weeks in June at five schools in the district.

Transportation and nutrition will be provided, said community and communications coordinator Brittany Cannon, and there will be a STEM focus with related arts.

"As a district, we feel very fortunate because we have been in school since August, and full, in person, and so I do feel we are not experiencing the learning loss that so many across the state and nation might be because of our director wanting to be in school and making the protocols and working through those to be able to be in school," Cannon said.

Baylor School is not adding supplemental resources to its summer programming and will continue offering what it usually does. There will be COVID-19 precautions for summer camps, such as wearing masks when social distancing is not possible and daily symptom checks for campers.

Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy will continue its usual summer school but with slight modifications due to the pandemic.

"We'll just continue doing what we have been doing in the past," said CGLA CEO Elaine Swafford. "We always had summer school the month of June for those who aren't passing, and those who might just want some tutoring. We'll do the same this year."

The school has adapted aspects of the school day to the pandemic, such as adding more lunch times, and will adapt summer school in a similar way.

"So we'll do the same with summer school, we'll figure out how many kids need to be located where safely and so it will change some, it has to, but again we will expect the masking and the social distancing throughout summer school as well," Swafford said.

Contact Anika Chaturvedi at or 423-757-6592.