Summer school helps Prince Edward students get back on track

Published 12:35 am Wednesday, July 19, 2023

FARMVILLE – Summer school helped get a number of students back on track for graduation. That was what Dr. Michelle Wallace, assistant superintendent for Prince Edward Public Schools, told the school board during their Wednesday, July 12 meeting. 

The high school students didn’t participate in as many fun activities as the other schools. The focus of the summer program is to help students be on track for graduation.

“For high school, it’s a little different because we are focused on graduation,” said Wallace. “So it may not be as fun for them, but it is very rewarding.”

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During the three weeks, there were 18 students that recovered courses, meaning that they made up work to raise their grades. There were nine students who passed their Standard of Learning (SOL) assessment which earned them their verified learning credits. These verified learning credits mean that the student has passed both the class and the SOL and counts toward graduation. There was also one summer graduate and two who earned their General Education Diploma (GED) which counts towards the school’s graduation rate and accreditation.

Taking part in the summer program were 112 elementary school students, 49 middle and 31 high school students. According to Wallace, these numbers are consistent with enrollment in past years.

Prince Edward students get a headstart

Depending on their grade level, students spent these weeks doing different levels of work and activities to help them either catch up from this past school year or get a headstart for the upcoming one. According to Wallace, the summer programs are to engage, excite and explore with students reading, writing, mathematics and enrichment activities that support instructional themes. 

Along with the three-week summer program, 10 students enrolled in virtual classes that are still taking place. One of these students may be able to graduate at the end of their virtual class bringing the summer graduates to two. High schoolers can retake the SOL as many times as needed to pass whereas elementary and middle school students retake them once during the school year.

Elementary and middle school

Since the elementary and middle school students didn’t have any tests to take, they worked on skills while doing performance-based assessments. These assessments are creative activities for the students to do that incorporate multiple learning objectives and concepts while doing a creative hands-on project. 

“This also gives our teachers a chance to practice using performance-based assessments while giving our students an opportunity for hands-on learning during summer school,” said Wallace.

Each grade level for elementary school did something different for each assessment. Some of the many projects included counting stars while making an American flag poster for Independence Day, creating comic strips for storytelling, planning a party and creating a recipe for ice cream. These different activities intertwined reading, math and life skills to help students learn in a new way. 

At the middle school, the main project had each grade create a plan to remodel the courtyard. Each week the Prince Edward students completed a different part of the project. During the first week, the students measured and made a scale drawing of the courtyard and researched native plants they could put in there. The next week they created a scale model and a slideshow presentation of their plans. Then during the last week, the students finalized their project and presented it for a school-wide vote where the fifth-graders won.

“They were very innovative in what they came up with,” said Wallace. “It was great to see their projects and listen to their descriptions on why they chose certain features for the outdoor space. I was real pleased with what they were talking about with why they chose what they did.”