Approaches to Staffing for Summer School this Year

Kelly Nelson-Danley
Kelly Nelson-Danley
Assistant elementary school principal; Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction
Group of young students sitting in the grass with a teacher reading a book to them.

The 2020-21 school year is just coming to a close and summer school is around the corner for many! Here are some ways to approach staffing for summer school this year!

Be Proactive

The 2021 school year has been a year like no other. When asked if they’d like to teach summer school, the first thought teachers have may not be a big “hooray!” They’ve been through a lot this year and may need some time to think about how they want to spend their summer. Considering this, it is important for administrators to be proactive when preparing for summer school.

One thing administrators can do to be proactive is to foster an environment of excitement and engagement going into the summer months. Administrators can do this by showing teachers how much they value teachers’ work and time, encouraging teachers to practice self-care, providing teachers with time to plan and collaborate, practicing an open-door policy in order to be available to discuss summer camp, and by celebrating the past year! By modeling excitement for summer learning opportunities, administrators will attract more teachers that are willing to keep moving forward throughout the summer.

Another way that administrators can be proactive in planning for summer school is to start early! As soon as information is given to administrators from their districts, they should begin to work on draft schedules and other plans so that they can provide teachers with as much information as possible regarding the logistics of summer school.

Consider Your Needs

Considering the needs of staffing for summer camp is key to begin the planning process. In both the elementary and middle/high school levels, adequate staffing to meet ratio requirements is a top priority, as well as, providing transportation for students in need. It will be important to follow district guidelines when planning elementary school and middle/high schedules for summer school. Some needs will differ depending on the setting of summer school. For example, Elementary schools will have different needs than middle/high schools and vice versa.


Many elementary schools are offering summer school based on student needs. Typically, if students are performing well below grade level in reading and/or math, they are invited to attend. Considering this, you want to recruit your most capable staff. Staff who work summer school in an elementary setting must be familiar with primary intervention practices and assessments.


Middle school and high school summer school is quite different from elementary summer school. Instead of focusing on increasing students’ reading and math performance in general, summer school for older students typically focuses on specific courses that may have failed. Students are often able to earn credit for these courses upon completion of summer school. Considering this, it is important to recruit staff that are knowledgeable in specific course areas where the need is the highest.

Plan, Plan, Plan!

You may have heard the old saying, “failing to plan is planning to fail”. In the case of any educational endeavor, this is true! Anytime you are responsible for the instruction and well being of a large number of staff and students, it is important to have a plan in place, and even a back up plan! Planning for summer school means considering your needs, both demographically and instructionally. This includes schedules, a curriculum plan, and a transportation plan.

When creating schedules consider the number of students and staff that will be in your building and the space that you will utilize within the school. Curriculum will need to be mapped out prior to the start date of summer school and students in need of buses will need to be assigned to routes. Oftentimes, collaborating with colleagues can help with the planning process.

Additionally, utilizing online scheduling tools can help you get organized and prepared for summer school. Quick Schools, for example, is an online tool that helps administrators and educators of all kinds create schedules to fit their needs. You can customize schedules to meet the specific needs of your school and make changes at any time.

Make It Fun

Making summer school fun is no easy task. Students have been hard at work all year and so have school staff. In order to create a culture of fun and to motivate students and staff, it’s important to remember to have fun. Some ways to do this include:

  • Incorporate school spirit weeks
  • Offer attendance incentives
  • Give staff “jean days” or “dress down days”
  • Research ways to increase staff morale
  • Include multiple avenues of instruction in learning (videos, songs, movement, etc)
  • Encourage collaboration
  • Provide rewards for good student behavior
  • Encourage Summer Reading at school and at home
  • Create a summer school theme (examples: Splash into Summer, Keep Climbing, etc)

Remember that without staff, schools cannot operate! Treat staff with respect and appreciation and summer school will go off without a hitch!

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