Outside the Classroom

Stay Warm with Thoughts of Virtual Summer School

Summer school provides students with flexibility and freedom not often afforded during the regular school year. During my junior year of high school, I was overloaded with extracurricular activities so I spent the summer taking an art course that I just couldn’t fit into my schedule otherwise. I was also debating what major I wanted to declare when I went to college, so exploring different subjects was really important to me. That summer, I squeezed in a photography class and it helped me decide (a few years later) to change my major to art history.

Without the opportunity to take a photography course in summer school, I may not have learned that I could turn my passion for art into an academic pursuit. Many other students use this time to work on courses they struggled with during the school year (physics or chemistry, anyone?), or to earn enough credits to graduate early. If you’re considering offering summer school to your students, now is the time to start planning. Luckily, a virtual summer school can help districts offer a wide variety of courses to their students while mitigating some common logistical concerns.

Benefits of Summer School

positive graph icon

Help Students Catch Up

Students may struggle in courses for a variety of reasons, so giving them time over the summer to focus on one or two courses instead of a normal load can often help them understand concepts they missed throughout the school year. Summer school can also help students save face among their classmates by preventing them from having to retake a freshman class as a sophomore. And in doing so, they’ll gain the knowledge and credit they need over the summer to stay on track with their grade. Summer school can also help with college preparation, and many students boost their GPA by retaking a course.

calendar icon

Prepare Students for the Following Year

Some schools offer a suite of courses built to help 8th graders make the transition to high school. A summer school program like this can take some of the pressure off of incoming freshman and allow them to hit the ground running in this more demanding level of schooling.

sun icon

Thwart the Summer Slide

Research has found that it can take students four to six weeks to catch up in the fall semester after a long summer break. Offering summer courses helps students stay on track and maintain the knowledge they obtained in the previous school year.

graduation cap icon

Graduate Early

Summer school is a great time to get ahead and offers students the opportunity to earn extra credits toward an early graduation. Or, better yet, why not take some dual-enrollment courses and graduate early with a few college credits to get you started?

rising sun icon

Expand Horizons

Students can use the summer to take some classes that they can’t fit into the regular semester and explore their interests outside of the core classes. Interested in a foreign language or music theory? Now is the time to explore so that students can have a better grasp on their interests when they enter university or the work force.

Some schools even offer career and technical courses over the summer to expose students to their options after graduation. Consider a partnership with a local trade school for hands-on experience, or virtual courses to give your students the most options possible.

How Does Virtual Summer School Help Deliver These Benefits?

Virtual courses provide all of the above listed benefits with the added advantage of flexibility, which is especially important over the summer. Many families take a vacation during the long break, but this shouldn’t prevent students from taking courses if they choose. By offering virtual summer school, your students can access their classes from the beaches of South Carolina to the mountains of Montana and everywhere in between. Working students can still reap the benefits of virtual summer school by accessing their courses any time of day. By offering courses with more flexibility, you can capture more of your student population over the summer and give them all the benefit of summer learning.

Programs like Edgenuity’s Instructional Services can help you set up virtual courses this summer. Whether this is your first year instituting virtual summer school or you’re an old pro looking to try a new curriculum provider, it can be a seamless process and provide much-needed flexibility and opportunity to your students.

Sources

Osorno, S. (2017). 5 ways summer school can benefit students. Retrieved from: http://blog.connectionsacademy.com/5-ways-summer-school-can-benefit-students/

About the Author

avatar

Emily Kirk

After growing up in the Phoenix area, Emily escaped the heat to study in Flagstaff where she graduated from Northern Arizona University with a BA in Art History. She went on to work and study at The University of Phoenix, earning her MBA. After volunteering to teach English in Chile for a semester, she worked in sales and marketing for a major ocean freight carrier. Throughout her career, Emily has also taught ballet, so she is thrilled to be part of the Where Learning Clicks team where she can combine her love of teaching and business acumen to help transform classrooms.