HCISD survey looks at local opinion on summer school

HARLINGEN — Checking the pulse.

This is usually a routine procedure performed by a nurse, but there’s nothing routine about the survey sent out by the Harlingen school district on Monday.

The district sent the survey through text messaging to determine parents’ opinions about opening its campuses this summer.

“We really were wanting to get a pulse from our parents on their thoughts around students attending summer school,” said Alicia Noyola, chief academic officer for the district.

More specifically, the district wants to know if parents would want their children to continue online instruction this summer, or have face to face classroom sessions. Or, perhaps what she called a “hybrid”: some days face to face and some days online.

“Those really are the only options,” she said.

The district also surveyed parents to determine interest in summer remediation or summer enrichment. The latter is known as the district’s Beyond the Bell program.

“We’re looking at summer programming because we have a concern with any possible learning gaps that may have happened during the last couple of months,” she said.

Because, let’s face it. Even with all the work the district put in to create School@Home, taking online classes at home with all the accompanying distractions is not the same as in-person classes.

“We know that we’re going to have some students that have developed some gaps when they’re out of school for a couple of months,” Noyola said. “It’s no different from when they’re out of school for that summer. We have students that are gone for the summer and when they return there’s a summer slide that happens.”

She commended the district’s teachers for having a “feel” for those needs, not just for a two-month gap but the entire end of the year.

“I think that teachers have a feel for those students who may have already had learning gaps that have widened during this time,” Noyola said. “So how do we meet their needs and what does summer look like to support that?”

And that’s what the survey is all about, plus something more.

What about the fall semester? In class or online? The school district is also looking at that, and plans to send out another survey in July to take another community “pulse.”

Parents have until today to respond to this week’s survey and then the district will have the data to make an informed decision about summer school.