Students at the high school level are especially challenged by the demands of term course schedule changes, participation in extramural activities such as band, choir, sports, and outside family and social obligations. When a student falls behind with lower than acceptable test score performance, psychological depression, delayed graduation, and rejected college or university application may follow. Summer school offers a viable alternative to the traditional school year, offering students course credit makeup, early graduation and pre-college preparatory enrichment.
Schools Out for Summer, and I Forgot
Proponents of year-round school acknowledge that learning acquisition is not always retained by K-12 students without closely timed learning intervals. The two months of summer are critical for students already at-risk of poor performance or failure. In a study of the state of summer school education in the United States conducted by the Wallace Foundation in 2010, findings indicated, however, that only 25 percent of K-12 students participated in a safe, structured, and enriching summer learning program.
The stop-gap characterization of summer school is not entirely unfounded. The dropout rate probability for students who have failed is higher. Without the opportunity to recuperate course credits and grade scores required for graduate during the summer semester, students falling through the cracks may be at-risk long-term. Summer school is the single most critical intervention a school can make. Career focused students desiring to compete for jobs immediately after graduation, can also find support through vocational and volunteer internship opportunities through summer programs.
Bridging the Student Achievement Gap
Summer school programs like Cambridge summer school emphasize a holistic approach to education, giving students the opportunity to fulfill their credit requirements in accelerated “credit forward” courses, and the chance to re-engage with their communities through enriching cultural and service events. Students are benefitting from new summer school programs targeting high performers. With more options to earn extra course credits, these proactive learning environments may be the solution to the overall learning expectation of students, as they move forward in the education institution.
Schools are stepping up to the challenge of equity in education with these specialized summer programs that allow for the flexible inclusion of individual learning curricula. Improving the chances of test performance and graduation rates, high-quality summer school programs are reaching out to students at all grade levels, encouraging continuity in learning and teacher support, in the context of a structured school setting.
Creating Connections to College
The built-in accountability that goes along with student attendance at regularly scheduled activities is indispensable. Advanced Placement test performance rankings correlating year-round classroom participation with admissions acceptance, demonstrates college bound students are more successful with uninterrupted knowledge acquisition. AP credit courses are popular summer school transfer programs, allowing students to waive college and university breadth requirements freshman year. High school athletic recruits eager to start with a college team a season early, are prime candidates for summer school programs offering accelerated independent study toward college entrance.
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