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Spring Ahead to Summer School

Authored By: 
Maren Holmen, Director of The Tutoring School

Spring break is just around the corner, so why are we already talking about summer school curriculum??  When many people think of summer school, they envision a room filled with students who are goof-offs, woefully clueless, or angst-ridden.  I’ve been a teacher or administrator of a summer school for high school students for almost 15 years, and, in my experience, the stereotypes from comedy movies are outnumbered by the students who actually populate those classrooms.

The student with a thirst for learning.  Often starting as early as January (although I fielded an inquiry this year in September), proactive parents begin the process of investigating local summer programs that can advance their child’s education or just provide an outlet for their child’s passions or creativity.  It might be as simple as contacting a tutor to work independently with their child or it could be taking a math or science class that could allow a student to advance to the next level.

The student who wants to graduate early or who needs to catch up.  Whether it’s a student who would like to finish high school in less than four years or someone who missed a semester or two due to a big move or an extended illness, summer school is that time where they can complete some credits while their peers are out of school.  I’ve seen international students who need to achieve credits specific to a U.S. high school diploma and students who want to finish high school early so that they can pursue a modeling career sitting in my summer classrooms, willing to give up traditional vacation time so that they can meet their goals.

The student who needs consistency.  Different students will retain information differently, but I think we can all agree that anyone who steps away from a topic for 2-3 months at a time will have a hard time remembering it after such a long break.  Particularly for students who struggle with math, essay-writing, or languages, a summer vacation without keeping these topics “fresh” means that they continue to fall behind their classmates in the next school year.  Making some time for one or two summer classes can help solidify skills that were shaky during the previous school year and help a student recover from constantly feeling at a disadvantage when back in the classroom next fall.

Finding a program that meets the needs of your child and can work with other plans (summer camps, family vacations, etc.) takes time, so don’t be afraid to hit Google and pick up the phone to see what options might be your best fit.