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Mention the words "summer school," and you'll likely garner some eye rolls and groans from students eager to take a break. After all, sitting in a classroom on a partially empty campus doing schoolwork cannot rival the warm-weather vacation escapes that loom on the horizon. It's no wonder going to summer school feels like punishment. But summer school has its benefits and luckily, you're there to point them out to your students. Whether they are suffering from low grades and falling behind schedule or they have the potential to get ahead, encourage your students to take advantage of this powerful academic offering.

Helping At-Risk Students

According to The Hechinger Report, summer learning programs can make a big difference in whether kids drop out of school or stay on track to graduate.1 The report adds that summer learning can help students from low-income families gain ground academically and get on a path to success in school and beyond. By gaining access to more individualized instruction, students have a better opportunity to focus on improving skill deficiencies.

Individual Improvement

Though summer school helps those at risk academically, the advantages of summer studies are plentiful for all students.

  • Make up credits: Falling behind in a class or two may not lead to non-completion, but fear of the possibility does create added stress. Lessen the anxiety of falling behind by making up credits during the off-season.  
  • Get ahead: Summer school isn't only for remedial work; many students opt to take a class or two and get ahead of schedule to reduce the load of the regular school year and potentially graduate early.
  • Personalized learning: With smaller classroom sizes and focus on one single subject, summer school is a distraction-free learning experience.

Summer School Upgraded

Consider changing up the traditional summer school program to make it a more enjoyable experience. Chances are, the reason students are needing to make up credits is due to the rigid curriculum of the traditional school year. According to EdSource, "Programs do not have to look like traditional summer school to get good results that are engaging and inspiring for students. There is not necessarily a better return on a boring program."2

Think outside the classroom and consider online learning options. Students may fear giving up their much needed break from school, but there are ways to incorporate flexibility. Online learning also provides an opportunity for advanced students to complete general education requirements, so they can fill their academic school year schedule with more advanced classes. For instance, Penn Foster High School provides online summer school programs to over 600 school districts, offering students the opportunity to complete a class in an online, blended or in-person environment, thereby enabling students to zero in on difficult material and self-pace to meet their needs. Last summer over 2500 courses were completed across 600 districts.

Recommended For You: The Truth About High School Credit Recovery


Resources: (1) A New Vision: Students Actually Want to Attend Summer School  (2) Summer Enrichment Programs Prove Their Value