The real work of improving student performance won't be found in standardized tests or teacher accountability measurements. The real work is in instruction, engaging students and helping them grow. That's why Pinellas County's new summer program for 6,600 struggling students is such an encouraging development in a district that so desperately needs to do a better job in student performance.
Designed to bring a camplike atmosphere to select public schools for four days of instruction a week, Summer Bridge aims to help lagging students of all grades to catch up. At the very least it should help stave off summer learning loss — a long-diagnosed phenomenon among poor children who can lack any significant enrichment activities over the summer.
This bold initiative is the brainchild of Pinellas superintendent Mike Grego, who cobbled the ambitious program together in just months. There are sure to be hiccups. Attendance at some schools, for example, was initially half what was expected in early weeks. More significant, however, is to see the district trying new and ambitious strategies for reaching students and helping them achieve. That is how the district will improve its student performance, one child at a time.