Summer school has long been though of as a last chance option for children who failed classes during the traditional school year. However, some groups now argue that summer school programs can be of great help to all children, even those who do well in school.
Much of what is learned during the school year is forgotten during summer vacation, which contributes to low achievement, particularly in low-income schools. Now, Washington D.C. public schools are aiming to change this as well as the long-lasting stigma that has been attached to attending summer school. These programs aim to provide a well-rounded learning experience for students, which would include hands-on learning and field trips.
It is important for students to have a well-rounded, year-round focus on education. Summer school should no longer be thought of as a punishment, but rather as an enrichment experience. Students who remain academically focused all year long are likelier to be higher achievers overall.
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Summer school is a great tool, if only more students would use it
By Jay Mathews
Monday, June 28, 2010
This Wednesday from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Brent Elementary School at 301 North Carolina Ave. SE, the D.C. public schools will hold a chancellor’s forum on how to add useful learning to your child’s summer. Several groups, such as the D.C. Public Library, the University of the District of Columbia Science and Engineering Center, and even Madame Tussaud’s, will have booths about their summer programs.
But the District, like other urban districts, will have a summer school that includes only about a fifth of its students. Many people laugh that off: Who in their right mind wants to go to summer school? Give the poor kids a break.
That old-fashioned attitude turns out to be educationally bankrupt. Summer learning loss has been shown to be a likely cause of low achievement in cities such as Washington. Karl L. Alexander of Johns Hopkins University found that by ninth grade, accumulated learning loss for low-income children accounted for two-thirds of the achievement gap between them and higher-income children who had summer learning opportunities, such as trips to the library and museums.
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