Kids catch up in summer school

BLUE EARTH – For some kids, school didn’t end with May. About two dozen juniors and seniors are catching up on classes at Blue Earth Area Schools this summer.

“They just didn’t meet the learning targets,” explained Rich Schneider, high school principal. They might have had a prolonged illness, missed too many days or just didn’t understand the class.

“Some students struggle with certain concept areas” – like math, he said.

“Maybe they failed a class or need to repeat a class; that’s our target audience. This gives them another opportunity to stay on track to graduate.”

That’s why Laticia Briseno is taking government and economics.

“I was gone from school a lot for medical reasons,” she said of her senior year.

“They said it would be easier to make it up in summer school.”

Jodee Lund is Briseno’s teacher and also teaches math and science. Cindy Alleven is teaching language arts while Mark Franta is teaching the online program with Lund.

Summer school is a little different from standard courses, Schneider explained. For regular classes, credit is given based on how much time students spend in the classroom.

“[Summer school] is designed for credit recovery,” said Schneider. “In credit recovery mode, students have to prove proficiency in the content they didn’t understand.”

Summer school has another advantage.

“Students are focusing on one subject; not having to juggle more than one course,” Schneider said.

Briseno likes the program.

“It’s helping me,” she said. “It’s good because they give you questions to answer. Look it up in the assignment, and you can pretty much ace the quiz. Pretty easy format.”

“She’s progressing very well,” said Lund. “If she stays on pace, she’ll wrap up by the end.”

Classes began June 10 and summer school ends July 12, but around half of Lund’s students had already completed their work before June ended.

“We set goals with the kids so they can finish classes on time,” Lund said.

“If they work hard, they can get done a lot faster,” Schneider said. “We had students finish it in the first week because they worked that hard at it.”

Just because it’s summer school, doesn’t mean it’s easy.

“The way we monitor this program is really slick,” Lund said. “It’s teacher-friendly.”

“They can take the lessons at home, but they can’t take the tests at home,” Schneider said. “They have an exam and have to get a certain score or proficiency level or they don’t pass.”

His goal is to have the kids learn as much as they can.

“Now we have seniors who graduated who wouldn’t have had the opportunity to graduate without it,” Schneider said. “We need 100 percent of our students graduating.”