At Retooled Summer Schools, Creativity, Not Just Catch-Up
Just a few years ago, school districts around the country were slashing summer classes as the economic downturn eviscerated their budgets. Now, despite continuing budgetary challenges, districts are re-envisioning summer school as something more than a compulsory exercise where students who need to make up lost credits fight to stay awake inside humid classrooms.
“It is what school should be like during the school year,” said Angela Maxey, the principal, with some of her students. According to the National Summer Learning Association, a nonprofit group, 25 of the country’s largest school districts — including Charlotte, N.C.; Cincinnati; Oakland, Calif.; Pittsburgh; and Providence, R.I. — have developed summer school programs that move beyond the traditional remedial model. The New York City public schools offer several summer programs that mingle enrichment with academics, including an intensive arts institute and a vocational program combining course work and paid internships.