A better way to spend the summer
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Throwing out the baby with the bathwater doesn&8217;t make much sense.
Neither does penalizing a student an entire school year for a course or parts of a course in which he or she is suffering.
Students&8217; frustration with learning often comes with inefficiencies in the system.
For as long as there have been school systems, summer school programs have existed almost as long.
Students need to be educated, and every effort needs to be made to ensure that they are given all opportunities to succeed in the classroom.
But it seems the time has come to consider the that possibility that summer school may not be the best way to help underperforming students.
The Credit Recovery program, or Saturday School, being implemented at Selma High takes an interesting approach to remedial courses.
Credit recovery is part of the state Department of Education&8217;s First Choice Program, which encourages academic achievement by requiring students to take advanced classes.
Instead of attending school four days a week during the summer to repeat a course, students will go one day a week year-round to work on those areas that give them the most trouble.
Interim school board president Dr. Verdell Lett-Dawson said the emphasis now would be on the standard.
Students who are encouraged to strengthen particular areas of academic weakness will, hopefully, be encouraged to meet or exceed those standards.
There is the argument that more free time in the summer would mean more opportunity for children to get into negative practices.
This may be true, but this also a negative way to look upon our young people.
Among all the positive things kids could do with their time are get summer jobs and volunteer.
That means more a stronger workforce for the summer months and teenagers who will re-enter school with a renewed sense of pride and motivation.
Because the Saturday school classes are taught on computers, it develops an aspect of extreme importance in this age.
Because 25 percent of Selma and Dallas County lives at or below the poverty level, the classroom may be the only place many students see a computer.
They are becoming more common, and in some cases less expensive. But unlike televisions, computers have not yet made their way into every person&8217;s home.
Students also may be more prepared to pass the graduation exam, which means more children would graduate on time.
Also, if frustrated students aren&8217;t dreading summer school, it could cause a noticeable dip in the dropout rate.
There are also benefits to teachers. The smaller class sizes that are predicted to result from the program mean more one-on-one instruction. Teachers who can deal with fewer students may likely be more motivated themselves, and it would make sense that the burden of their job would lessen slightly.
In theory, this process seems to be a win-win for everyone.
But like anything else, commitment and thoughtful preparation have to be put into making sure the best thing is done for our children.