Connections: Linking Talented Educators
Connections: Linking Talented Educators

COVID-19 Diaries: Summer Break Advice for Students and Families

May 27, 2020

1000w Summer break crop

We’re coming to the end of a strange school year. As we all move from an unsettling spring to a summer filled with uncertainty about what lies ahead, we asked Milken Educators to share words of advice and encouragement for students and families. The common theme: Enjoy this well-deserved break, and don’t worry—we’ll get through it together.

Sarah Compton (WI ’18)
5th grade at Northside Elementary in Monroe

Students, our world has changed suddenly and in a way few of us could have anticipated. Everyone, including your teachers and parents, is experiencing some degree of struggle now. But I’m proud to say that this challenging time has brought out the best in you. When faced with adversity, many of you had the choice to shut down or step up. Overwhelmingly, kids across the nation stepped up.

Pupils everywhere adjusted to an entirely new way of learning, one which required independence, time management, and self-direction. We are so proud of your resilience and perseverance! My wish for you is that you use this summer to engage in some well-deserved self-care. Your well-being is our number one concern right now. I promise we'll take care of everything else later.

Brian Allman (WV ’19)
6th grade at Buckhannon-Upshur Middle in Buckhannon

The number one message I would send to students and their families is that it’s okay to take a break from the stressors that come with exclusively trying to learn online. It’s actually vital that this break happens. Our entire mindset surrounding education had to shift overnight, without any notice. Students, parents and educators have pulled together and made it work to the best of our abilities. There will be time to analyze what worked and what didn’t so that we can adequately prepare for an uncertain fall. But it’s okay to take time for yourself before that happens. Acknowledge what has been accomplished and realize that as long as we are safe and healthy, the rest will be addressed in due time.

Summer has always been a time for personal renewal. The importance of that is magnified after the type of school year we just completed. It will also be a time of professional reflection and growth as we work towards establishing a new normal that incorporates lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rebecca Streff (NE ’18)
5th grade at North Bend Central Elementary in North Bend

This time will be written about in books and textbooks. We will be reading about the history we have made. Create your own journal so you can look back and remember your good memories, big and small. Write! Write for yourself, every day. Writing helps us feel better. Write about whatever you are feeling, your experiences, your new learning, what you see outside your window.

Stuck on ideas? Maybe draw or sketch first, and then write. Find or take pictures of your experiences and write captions for them. Find a poem or quote from a book that matches your feeling and experiences, and write about that.

Your writing doesn’t have to be perfect—it just is for you, and that is perfect enough. Keep writing and you will see the beauty, freedom and discovery in your words.

1000w Krystal Contreras summer break quote

Meghan LeFevers (NC ’17)
Principal at Tryon Elementary in Bessemer City

While none of us know for certain what the fall will bring, I do know that there are educators all around the nation who care about you, love you, and are ready to support you upon your return to school.

Nikki Silva (NJ ’18)
3rd grade at Nathan Hale Elementary in Carteret

We are making history! Try to keep that in the back of your mind as you embark on a summer like no other. If school was your child’s one constant and they thrived on the routine, try to create a schedule with your child for the days ahead. If you are relieved that school work is done, help your child learn something new or take up a new hobby with them (hiking, sewing, cooking, exercising). This way, when you look back on your quarantine life, you will feel productive and remember that you used this “extra gift of time” to bond with your child.

It’s always a good idea to keep your child learning and growing, so continuing to practice facts and concepts learned this past year is a good idea. But don’t feel pressured to make up any work. Teachers will be able to meet your child wherever they are when we return and pick up where they left off. We are all in this together. We will rise!

Krystal Contreras (TX ’18)
4th grade at Dr. C.M. Cash Elementary School in San Benito

No students will be behind. Parents, don’t worry about academics. We educators will get your children to exactly where they need to be.

Wendy Shirey (NV ’18)
Principal at Pinecrest Academy of Nevada’s Horizon Campus in Henderson

You have persevered through a unique time in history. Enjoy this summer as much as you can and take some time to appreciate all the things you may have taken for granted before COVID. Relax, keep reading, keep learning, and know that your teachers will be ready to make sure you are where you should be when you return to school.

1000w Brian Allman summer break quote2

Silvia Miranda (NM ’18)
4th grade at Mesa Elementary in Clovis

Self-care is just as important as academic growth. Take this time to care for yourself and for your family. Create some new family traditions, explore new hobbies and spend plenty of time off screens—we have all had enough screens for a while! There are many opportunities to learn outside of school, so be creative, play, run and be ready to continue your learning when we go back to school.

Nick Peruski (MI ’19)
CTE coordinator at Lakeland High in White Lake

The most important thing is to remain positive and look for the good in this situation. Use your free time to practice a hobby, read a book or go for a walk. Things will eventually return to normal, so try not to hyper-focus on all of the things you are missing. Maintain a positive outlook and try to put a smile on someone else’s face.

In terms of education, while 10 weeks seems like a long time to be out of school, teachers will help students get caught up next year. Districts across the country are hard at work to plan for the fall, filling in any potential gaps. While it may not seem so now, everything will be okay.


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