Some might think of summer school simply as a necessity for struggling students, but in the Hall County and Gainesville City school districts, there’s a summer-school offering for almost every student.
True, summer school is a chance for students to retake failed courses. But summer programs are designed with a wider goal in mind: to help students graduate on time from high school.
In Gainesville City Schools, “summer interventions” are offered for students in pre-K through 12th grades through the month of June, according to Priscilla Collins, director of school improvement and student achievement.
The city in particular is equipped to serve pre-kindergarten students at New Holland Core Knowledge Academy through July 13, thanks to additional funding.
“We were awarded a Summer Transition Program grant for pre-K from the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning’s Bright from the Start,” Collins said. “The purpose of this grant is to coordinate and provide services for eligible 4- and 5-year-old children, and their families, served by Georgia’s Pre-K Program for six weeks this summer.”
At the elementary level, the city’s Summer Success program targets approximately 125 students in kindergarten through fifth grade. Collins said the program offers “classes that add a twist on the regular curriculum.”
The city also offers a middle school summer program, as well as summer programs for migrant students to catch up or get ahead. Collins said more than 100 students participate in such programs.
In Hall County Schools, a wide variety of summer programs are also available, including special education programs, gifted programs and a Title I program, which began last week and is offered at nine elementary schools, three middle schools and one high school.
“It is offered at our 13 Title I schools that we have in Hall County,” said Anna Sargent, Hall County Schools’ LEA Title I director. “Each school operates a summer school program, and the students are selected by the schools. They have different criteria at the schools, so it may be students who are at risk, it may be students who didn’t do well during the regular school year. It varies from school to school.”
At the high school level, the county’s summer program is provided primarily through online instruction, so even students who did fail a class do not necessarily have to report to the school daily. They can work from home 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but must be logged on and active for at least five hours a day.
Collins said Gainesville High School also offers blended-learning summer interventions, primarily for students in grades 11 and 12 who are focused on graduation.
The county high school program also provides students with two options: credit recovery, if a course was failed, and initial credit, for those students who wish to get ahead and approach graduation early.
Initial credit courses are offered at the Lanier Charter Career Academy in the summer.
Sargent said these various programs are meant to reach every student who needs intervention in the summer.
“It is definitely not just the students who didn’t do well during the school year,” Sargent said.