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Summer Students

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Posted: Sunday, July 15, 2007 10:00 pm

You've heard the threat. And at one time, it may have even been directed at you.

"If you don't bring your grades up, you'll end up in summer school."

It's a common assumption that the group of students slaving away indoors - and outdoors, for that matter - while their counterparts are at home goofing off during the summer break, are the "bad" students. The kids who skipped class, slacked off or otherwise just failed.

For the most part, that's the case. More than 800 students are currently taking summer school at Tokay High School and Lodi Middle School. Approximately 75 percent of those students are retaking classes that they did not do well in, according to Bill Toledo, principal at Plaza Robles High School who helps oversee summer school.

Often overlooked, though, is a different breed of summer school students. The ones who take the boring, required classes during the six-week term so they can free up time for band, photography or advanced placement chemistry.

Richard Carreon, an incoming senior at Tokay High School, hopes taking U.S. government and economics during the summer will help lighten his load.

With the extra time he's bought, Carreon will focus on his duties as the Tokay High marching band's drum major and take a conflict mediation class.


Tokay's Ashley Douglas, 16, attends class Friday morning on the Lodi Middle School campus. Douglas is taking classes to get ahead in credits. (Jennifer M. Howell/News-Sentinel)

He said he's not jealous of his friends, who get to relax during their break, mostly because a lot many of them are in summer school with him.

"If you surround yourself with people who have the same goals as you, you then get more motivated," Carreon said.

Neil Young, principal of interventions and supplemental programs at Lodi Unified, said that as long as he can remember, there's always been a population of overachievers in summer school classes.

"With a traditional six-period (schedule), there's a limit on what you can do," Young said.

Bridget King, 17, a senior at Tokay High, knows that limit well. She's trying to get a couple classes out of her way so she can tutor high school English during her free period.

King said she's using this teaching experience as first step toward her ultimate goal: working with special needs students.

Other students use the six-week session to get rid of the "boring" classes during the summer so they won't have to suffer through them during the school year.

That's the plan for Lodi High School senior Ashley Douglas, 16.

She'll use the extra space in her schedule to squeeze in a Regional Occupational Program business class - a line of study she plans to continue in college.


Teacher Steve Jordan listens to a student's answer during a U.S. Government class Friday morning on the Lodi Middle School campus. (Jennifer M. Howell/News-Sentinel)

• Lodi Unified offers 31 classes during two three-week sessions including: English, math and science for all four grade levels.
• Summer school started June 11 and will end July 20.
• Classes meet Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 12:10 p.m.
• Classes include all graduation requirements as well as California Exit Exam courses.
- News-Sentinel staff.

Douglas, who has taken optional summer school classes since freshman year, is joined by her two sisters.

She said she doesn't mind studying during the summer because if she wasn't, she would probably just be wasting time.

"I would probably just be at home, asleep," Douglas said.

Jairo Cortes, a Tokay High senior, agrees and so do his parents.

"They kind of like me being here because usually I'm not doing anything at home," said Cortes, 16.

But for Cortes' friend, Javier Cristerna, 17, summer school is a necessity, but not because of his grades.

Cristerna, also a senior at Tokay, will be graduating early to join the Marines. He'll report to boot camp in January.

Contact reporter Amanda Dyer at amandad@lodinews.com.

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11 comments:

  • posted at 3:06 am on Thu, Jul 19, 2007.

    Posts:

    Our silly economic notion that so many credits = knowledge is ridiculous. Every class should have an exit exam. I'd like to see a system where studnets must pass a final exam to earn credit for a class, regardless of what their grades was previous to the final. That said, any summer school student who can pass the exact same exam earns the credit as well. Same standards. Same high standards, preferably.

     
  • posted at 7:12 pm on Tue, Jul 17, 2007.

    Posts:

    What if all academic classes agreed to have RIGOROUS final exams? If a kid passed the same final as the other kids, shouldn't they get full credit? But the PC attitude "pass the kid" because it makes the parents feel smarter has got to stop. It must be difficult for parents of slow kids to face reality, but they should have their kids accepting responsibility at the earliest age so they don't get even lazier as they grow older.

     
  • posted at 8:00 am on Tue, Jul 17, 2007.

    Posts:

    I think summer school should be for remediation for failing students and the opportunity to take some elective classes (art, shop, cooking, languages . . .)

    Taking 3 weeks of government and 3 weeks of economics to be able to leave school an hour early your senior year? 3 weeks of each? No way that matches what classes do over the course of a regular 18 week semester.

     
  • posted at 7:57 am on Tue, Jul 17, 2007.

    Posts:

    Summer school is fluffy based on what I've seen and heard at a summer school site. No way does 6 weeks of algebra (for example) over the summer compare to an entire school year. I'm sure some teachers and students somewhere are making every minute of instructional time enriching . . . but I just haven't seen it.

     
  • posted at 2:12 am on Tue, Jul 17, 2007.

    Posts:

    i don't believe our children spend enough time in school. our children are being left behind as far as the worlds' classroom. we need longer schoold days and more of them.

     
  • posted at 1:49 pm on Mon, Jul 16, 2007.

    Posts:

    I like the idea of longer hours and fewer days. Tell me if I am buying into a "it looks too good to be true" fantasy. Is this a PC "pretend class" or is it the "real deal" like the article suggests? Or - Do you fear reprisals for giving an honest opinion about a "political organization" (LUSD)?

     
  • posted at 8:20 am on Mon, Jul 16, 2007.

    Posts:

    Because the six-week class is also three hours long, if I remember correctly, as opposed to a one-hour class during the normal semseter.

    And, because of the compressed time, you typically have much more homework/reading to finish every day.

     
  • posted at 8:00 am on Mon, Jul 16, 2007.

    Posts:

    Kids need quick results that they can experience. They can play video games for hours, and get immediate feedback on their progress. This makes them motivated and successful. Most kids have the attention span of a gnat. An example is teenage driving. Many kids have the "lets get on with this" attitude. We can help them by changing school from an endurance contest of bordeopm, to a fast paced and challenging environment with QUICK but high standards. If they goof off, they can quickly experience the consequences by repeating the class.

     
  • posted at 7:54 am on Mon, Jul 16, 2007.

    Posts:

    Summer school is to education what drive-thru fast food is to nutrition. I just finished teaching there 45 minutes ago, trust me.

     
  • posted at 3:51 am on Mon, Jul 16, 2007.

    Posts:

    Good idea!

     
  • posted at 1:59 am on Mon, Jul 16, 2007.

    Posts:

    If you can take a class that quickly why not have year round "summer school", so the kids don't have to waste so much time "waiting out" the school year in "boring classes"?

     

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