Summer School Plan Presented In PE

Published 11:31 am Tuesday, March 3, 2015

PRINCE EDWARD — Division Superintendent Dr. David Smith presented a plan for summer school to the County’s school board at its February 25 work session that would accommodate about 140 students from grades 3-8 and 80 end-of-course classes.

The school board is expected to take up the proposal at their March 4 meeting, but it aims to offer a “rigorous summer school” spanning June 18-July 9, Monday-Thursday (excluding July 2), that did not pass math and/or reading Standards of Learning (SOL) tests in 2015.

“Each student will receive targeted instruction based on individual results from the SOL test and will concentrate on specific math and reading skills that they need,” an overview of the proposal in the school board’s February 25 packet explains. “Students will be identified by the school administration and will be expected to attend, if selected.”

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Also in line for the program will be students failing end-of-course SOL tests in English 11, Algebra I, Geometry and Algebra II.

“Students will spend their entire time in a specific content area and retest on June 18. If they need additional remediation, they will have an opportunity to retest again on June 25 and July 1. Students in science and social studies classes which have an End-of-Course (test) may attend to remediate and retest on the same schedule, if room and staff are available. Students may be eligible for the Locally Awarded Verified Credit in science or social studies even if they do not achieve a passing 400 score.”

While the estimated 220 students participating in the program is lower than envisioned, the schools could be limited in space this summer as renovation projects are planned for the middle and high schools. As proposed, the summer school program would be held for all of the students at the elementary school.

School Board Chairman Russell Dove notes that it would not involve as many students as they would like, but it would accomplish an enhanced program “for the amount of students we can accommodate.” Looking to past history as those having some difficulty on some SOLs, the numbers have ranged from 375-425. Dove said he would like to accommodate all of them, if those numbers still hold true.

The school board will consider a four-week summer school; last year, it ran for only two weeks. Dove said they hope to have some state funding for it, but conceded that he believes it’s incumbent for them to find some funds to accommodate it.

In addition the proposed program would offer breakfast and lunch at no cost to participants, and provide bus transportation as well.

The move to the rigorous summer school proposal grew out of a school board discussion on year-round schools. Some members favored exploring that option at the board’s February meeting, and the rigorous summer school plan development is a move that could address the school division’s issues or be a precursor to a full study of year-round schooling.

Prince Edward has struggled to reach state accreditation and federal benchmarks in standardized tests.

If the proposed summer school plan is successful and they get the results hoped for, Dove cited, that would really open the discussion to year-round schools.