Mandan News

Wilfred Volesky: Information on summer school

It has been less than a week since the 2009-10 school year came to an end. Yet many students will be going back to school within a week to attend summer school to further enhance their reading or math skills, to re-take a course in which they were not previously successful or to take a course that will allow them to develop a better schedule during the school year. A student’s purpose to take summer school is different at the elementary, middle school or high school level. I would like to share information about summer school at the different grade levels.

Elementary School

At the elementary level we have two types of summer school. At Fort Lincoln we will hold our Title I summer school. Just as the name implies, the expenses for this summer session are paid for by Title I funds. Title I is a Federal Program designed to help economically disadvantaged children improve their reading skills. Four of our elementary schools are considered to be Title I schools, which means they have a higher percentage of economically disadvantaged children than the district’s average. The four schools that are Title I schools are Custer, Fort Lincoln, Mary Stark and Roosevelt.

Kindergarten through fifth grade students from these four schools can attend this summer school. These students will be attending summer school to either maintain or increase their reading skills. These students are in attendance because they have been referred by a teacher or are attending at the request of their parents. They will attend school in the morning in one of two sessions that are offered.  Each session meets for two hours. Summer session began on Wednesday, June 2, and will end on Friday, July 23. This year there are over 200 students registered for the Title I summer school program, which is much higher than in prior years.

The second elementary summer school program we offer is a state approved and funded program in reading and mathematics that meets at Lewis & Clark Elementary. There are specific guidelines that students must meet if they want to attend this summer school program. Only students that have received a grade of “C” or below in either reading or math during the school year are eligible to attend this summer school.

This summer session meets for two hours for math and two hours for reading in the afternoon. Students can choose between two sessions that are offered for both reading and math. The summer school began on Tuesday, June 1, and ends on Thursday, July 15. The students that attended the morning Title I summer session at Fort Lincoln are eligible to attend this summer session if they meet the program guidelines. 

Middle School

The middle school summer school program is state approved and state funded. The middle school summer session began on Wednesday, June 2, and continues through Friday, July 2. There are two sessions of summer school with the first session going from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and the second session beginning at 11:20 a.m. until 2:20 p.m. Each course offered must meet for a minimum of 60 hours. At the middle school, a student can be in a course for 60 hours of reading, mathematics, science or social studies, if the program is only for students in that core area. A middle school student may split their 60 hours into two 30 hour segments of reading, math, social studies or science.

Sixth grade students that attend summer school are there primarily because they did not receive a proficient score on the North Dakota State Assessment or their scores on the NWEA Measures of Academic Progress in the spring were not at grade level. The majority of seventh and eighth grade students are in summer school because they were not successful in earning credit in a core academic course during the year. If some students do not earn a credit in a core academic course during summer school, they place themselves in danger of not advancing to the next grade.

There are 33 sixth grade students attending summer school, which is down by 19 students from last year. That is a positive, since it indicates that a larger percentage of sixth grade students scored well on their state assessment or on MAP tests. At the seventh and eighth grade we have 116 students that will be attending summer school.

High School

The high school summer school program is state approved and state funded. The high school summer program began on Tuesday, June 1, and depending upon the course being taken, could continue through Friday, Aug. 6. Two semesters of classes are offered throughout the summer. A lab class, like Physical Science, must meet for 75 hours to earn one-half credit. A non-lab class must meet for a total of 60 hours to earn one-half credit. A student can earn up to one full credit of coursework if they attend summer school the entire summer. Only required classes in math, science, language arts and socials studies are offered. The only elective courses are driver’s education and swimming.

The high school students that attended summer school in the past almost always attended because they wanted to take a required course that would allow them the flexibility to choose more elective courses during the school year. Currently, about 70 percent of the students that are going to summer school do so for this purpose. The remaining 30 percent attend because they are in credit recovery, meaning that they need to make up credits they lost because they were not successful in earning a credit from a course they took during the school year.

This summer there will be over 500 students that will be attending summer school. That means that close to 50 percent of the high school students take advantage of the opportunity to earn up to one credit of coursework during the summer.

As you can see, students attend summer school for a variety of reasons.  Whatever the reason, we hope that students put forth the necessary effort to make sure they accomplish their goal for attending summer school.