In Glenbard District 87, we encourage students to stay engaged with learning during the summer through summer school. With the option to take an enrichment class, fulfill a graduation requirement, recover credits or take a transition class to prepare for a rigorous class in the fall, summer school is becoming the norm for our students. This summer, about 40 percent of our students are participating in our summer program, which features 35 credit and noncredit courses.
Studies show that, on average, students who don’t participate in a summer learning program lose one to two months in grade equivalency in reading and math skills during the summer. For low-income students, this gap increases to three months behind grade level. We can prevent the "summer learning loss" when we make summer school a priority for all students.
In addition to helping students stay on track academically, summer school provides important structure for young people and helps them build confidence in their skills and abilities. They’re developing skills that will allow them to start the new school year on a stronger footing and cultivating a work ethic that will serve them well for years to come.
In addition to summer school, the following are steps parents can take to ensure their children are keeping pace academically:
• Develop a leisure reading plan: Research shows that students who read five or more books during the summer will maintain their reading scores or see gains in this area. Families are encouraged to make good use of the quality public libraries that we are privileged to have in our communities.
• Check your school’s suggested reading list: Many school websites list recommended books, and often these books are prerequisite readings for classes during the new school year.
• Visit a local museum or landmark: We are fortunate to have a wealth of interesting museums, zoos and arboretums in our communities and within a short drive. Families will be amazed at the educational gems right here in our area.
In addition to traditional courses, we provide some unique summer offerings that play a critical role in teens’ education.
• Each of our schools offers an Advanced Placement Launch class, which is a growth mindset course to provide first-time AP students the skills needed to be successful in all AP courses.
• College 101 helps rising seniors with their post-high school planning. Students begin preparing their applications, college essays and activity resumes. Through the use of Naviance, an online college planning tool, students explore college options and narrow their college choices by choosing safety, sure-entry and reach schools.
• Our English Language Learner Enrichment course assists students who need extra help with their English skills improve in the areas of reading, writing, listening to and speaking English while exploring some interesting sites.
We are committed to keeping students connected to school. We offer a multitude of courses, free noncredit classes to incoming freshmen and transportation because we are dedicated to meeting students’ needs throughout the year. We’re in the business of teaching and learning, and we don’t believe that should stop in the summer.
David F. Larson is the superintendent of Glenbard Township High School District 87.