The Garland ISD hosted the district’s first intersession last week with a State Fair-themed learning week.
From Oct. 6-9, students participated in a four-hour week celebration that included breakfast, two learning sessions, lunch and contests. The themed week allowed district students to be provided with intervention, enrichment and acceleration.
“This week allowed them to take a step back and realize that learning can still be fun and engaging and it gave them some time,” Director of Intervention Lea Ann Schkade said. “Those who got a week off will come back rested, but those who went through intersession this week will come back energized because they have a love for it.”
In response to COVID-19 causing academic changes, the Garland ISD Board of Trustees approved the district’s first intersessional academic calendar. Intersession has helped some students meet their academic needs that might have been inconvenienced by the pandemic.
“We’ve had to do a lot tweaking as far as learning loss they had in a typical summer and a pandemic summer in the months we lost. The teaching has changed a lot in the fact that a teacher doesn't go into a classroom and teach anymore,” Schkade said. “A teacher now has virtual students and face to face. Again, they have a whole new way of doing it and embracing it. I think that we are seeing more and more success every day that we go to school.”
Each campus in Garland ISD followed last week’s instruction and activities to meet specific intersession needs in-person and remotely. Intersession has aided in students getting back on track with the academic school year as well as having breaks be included at the end of the grading cycles.
“Our main mission for intersession is to close achievement gaps. It’s not only for our lowest students, it’s for every student. We want to move them forward and not go backwards. We have a lot of backing up to do for having COVID-19,” Schkade said. “It took us a while to get in the groove to teach effectively the way we had to teach. The main goal is to move everyone forward and see growth.”
In response to the district’s first themed intersession week, many students, teachers and parents are eager for the next themed week in the spring semester. There were about 72 campuses that were part of this four-day themed week with 25% of the students who participated.
“This was a first time ever to do it. We've learned through this process, although we had a huge successful four days, we are going to build off of this. I can assure you we are going to tweak where we need to tweak and march will look even more successful and it will have a different theme,” she said. “We have more time to prepare and we have learned through the process. So we are looking to moving on to the March session because we have learned a couple of things that will make it even more successful.”