Summer Scholars

Luke Hottovy, staff writer

Summer school. This term has traditionally been considered taboo ranging from elementary school to high school. In other influences such as TV shows aimed at middle school and elementary school students, summer school is portrayed as a home for juvenile delinquents, slackers and students who don’t possess the intelligence to complete the class the first time. 

However, many students in our district opt to take summer classes to graduate early, to allow time in their schedule for CAPS or to simply avoid taking classes during the school year that would otherwise bog them down. Summer classes offered consist of Health & Wellness, one of the more popular choices, and others such as Psychology, American Government and Design Fundamentals. Most of the classes offered during the summer now are online and students can work at their own pace to complete their summer work.

Social studies teacher Gregg Buehler teaches online American Government over the summer and has been doing so for the past seven years. Although summer classes used to have certain times when students and teachers had to collaborate in the classroom, it has all been replaced by electronic online interaction.

“Now, it’s really online; it’s completely online,” Buehler said. “There’s no face-to-face interaction. It’s all communication through email and through Canvas and Moodle.”

Not only is this type of classroom setting different from regular or AP government but the actual coursework is vastly different as well.

“You know, a lot of the assignments are subjective,” Buehler said. “There’s not a vocab thing. It’s not a lot of paper writing. It’s a lot of they read about something and then via video they discuss it.”

Although the American government course has more subjective coursework, other classes such as Health & Wellness provide students with a more traditional classroom environment and objective coursework. 

Sophomore Shadi Jafari took Health & Wellness this summer to help free up her schedule for the year and said she thoroughly enjoyed the ability to work at her own pace which the class provided.

“If I was busy one day, then I would just plan ahead and just work on it more the next day and honestly, the workload wasn’t even that much,” Jafari said. 

Junior Carson Craft also completed online Health & Wellness this summer and expressed similar opinions about the class as Jafari.

“I do think it was a lot more relaxed than if I would have taken it here,” Craft said. “Because online, you can go at your own pace.”

Although summer school may still be off-putting to some, there are a variety of different reasons why students wish to partake in courses during the break, all of which have their benefits. For example, graduating early would be more difficult, if not impossible, if these summer courses were not as prevalent in our school district. For the most part, these reasons that students have for partaking in summer courses are a two-way street that benefits both the students enrolled and the district as well.

“I kind of want to do it to get it out of the way so I can make my senior year the easiest,” Craft said.

Additionally, many students simply see Health & Wellness as a simpler class that they just need to pass to graduate, which is why it is such a popular summer course. 

“Yes, I’m actually really happy (I took Health) because it freed up my classes this year,” Jafari said. “I’m taking Anatomy and Chem this year, so if I had to take health with it, I just wouldn’t really have a class to take that I really would have chosen to.”

 Buehler said he sees two main reasons that students take American government over the summer.

 “It seems like most people take the course because they want to either graduate after first semester of their senior year or they’re getting it out of the way because they want to do CAPS and they want that extra time to be able to accomplish that,” Buehler said.

Overall, the summer school program that has been implemented into the district is popular and more than moderately effective in helping students accomplish their goals. It is reliable, taught well and frees up the schedule for students who want that opportunity in their academic career. It may not be for everyone but many students who have taken the summer courses have nothing but amazing things to say about them. 

“Yeah, I definitely would recommend it,” Jafari said. “If you think that you might be super busy during the school year or you need to fill up or empty your schedule for a class.”