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Jefferson summer school a victim of budget cuts
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By: Jonathan Zopf

Parent of elementary or middle school students may want to make sure their kids are minding their P's and Q's in class because this year they won't have the opportunity to take make-up classes in summer school.

Because of budget cuts, Jefferson Middle and Elementary schools will not offer classes this summer.

"In the past, middle school students have had an opportunity to attend summer school for the purposes of obtaining credit recovery, participating in (Criterion-Referenced Competency Test) remediation and regaining athletic eligibility," said Howard McGlennen, Jefferson Middle School principal in a letter to parents.

"Due to budgetary constraints, Jefferson Middle School will not be offering summer school at the end of the 2008-2009 school year. Please remember that in order for a student to be promoted to the next grade, he/she must pass five out of six classes for the school year."

The school system's elementary schools cite the same problem, budgetary constraints, for cutting its summer school.
Students struggling in their regular classes won't be left high and dry. At Jefferson Middle School, tutorial sessions are available before and after school to give students the help they need to pass their classes.

Because the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test scores of eighth-grade students are used to determine if a student will be promoted to the next grade level, students traditionally have been able to retake portions of the exam in summer school.

Because that isn't an option this year, retakes will be offered before the end of the school year.

"The CRCT test scores are due back to the schools by the first week in May," McGlennen said. "We will then provide a remediation period for those eighth-grade students who did not meet expectations in math and reading. We will give a retest for those students before school is out for the summer."

Elementary schools are planning to use existing intervention methods to help students who may have been referred to summer school.

"We plan to use current data and support personnel to provide intense, individualized remediation for our marginal students during the last weeks of school, rather than during the summer months," said Diane Oliver, Jefferson Elementary
School principal.

Summer school will remain an option for high school students, Jefferson High School Principal Kevin Smith says.

"We are in the process of developing a summer school program for this year," Smith said. "It will be a credit recovery program from the state and will go for 20 days and be offered to core classes only, no electives.

"In the past we have had 40 to 50 students participate, which we anticipate again this year. It looks promising that we will be able to financially support a summer school program this year."

The decision to cut summer school offerings in Jefferson came shortly after the Hall County system announced that it would scale back summer sessions to save money.

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