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Purpose of Summer School
Summer school programs typically allow students to make up for a class they failed during the regular school year. However, schools may offer summer programs with other objectives as well. For example, some programs prepare high school students for national or state assessment testing, while others may target English-as-a-second-language students. Some summer classes are designed purely for personal enrichment.
It costs money to operate schools and pay teachers during the summer months, and given recent state and national budget cuts, summer programs are often first to get the axe. In districts where these programs no longer allow free attendance, one of the biggest cons is the cost to participating students and their families. In addition, regular school bus transportation may not be provided during the summer months - getting to and from a summer class could be problematic.
From an academic standpoint, some summer sessions can be more difficult than expected. While the learning environment is often less structured and more flexible than during the regular school year, students may need to learn a lot of information in a shorter amount of time.
Students who participate in summer sessions keep their current academic skills sharp and learn new ones as well. These students are often better prepared for the upcoming school year than their non-attending peers.
Summer school also helps narrow the well-known achievement gap - children falling behind in their studies, particularly those from low-income households, can keep pace with their classmates. In addition, some summer programs offer sports and other extracurricular activities that keep students active during the break. Other benefits include:
- Keeping kids occupied and out of trouble
- Providing a break from more structured school-year learning
- Allowing for more personalized teacher-student relationships
- Allowing teachers already earning meager wages an opportunity to make more money
Want to learn more? Check out this article on the pros and cons of taking college summer classes.