School's in for summer

By LaVendrick Smith | Jul 03, 2012

While summer break in the Mukilteo School District is in full swing, many students aren’t putting away their No. 2 pencils just yet.

The district will kick off its summer school program Monday, July 9. Students may still register for some of the classes.

Classes for students entering grades 1-12 will be held at Odyssey Elementary School for elementary students and at Voyager Middle School for middle and high school students.

Summer school is offered as a choice for students who need extra help in reading, writing, and math.

At the elementary level, the program offers courses known as Power Up classes that prepare students for the upcoming school year. The elementary program also offers courses known as enrichment classes for students wanting to learn art, technology and science.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the kids and the excitement they’re going to have for participating, and to see the learning that’s going to take place,” said Steve Raymond, principal of the elementary program.

Raymond, who is also the dean of students at Odyssey, has been a summer school principal for two years. He said Power Up classes are beneficial to the students.

“It’s a little more laid back than the regular school year, and the kids really seem to enjoy coming and participating,” he said. “The teachers do an excellent job of making it less stressful and more fun for the kids.”

For high school students, summer school is about getting on track to graduate. The high school program offers English, Geometry and Algebra classes for students who need to pass the High School Proficiency Exam or a math End of Course Exam. Both are graduation requirements.

The program also offers a tennis class for students who need P.E. credit. Online credit-recovery classes will be taught at ACES High School for students who failed a class or had attendance issues.

“I really enjoy seeing kids thrive in an alternative atmosphere,” said Mary Ellen Huggins, principal of both the middle and high school programs.

Huggins said an important part of student success in summer school is their attendance. Students are faced with the task of cramming a semester’s worth of learning into five weeks. To earn credit, they have little room for absences.

“Their attendance has to be nearly perfect,” Huggins said.

Huggins said the Mukilteo School District does a great job with its summer school. She said the small class sizes the program provides helps builds strong relationships, which lead to student growth.

“If you want to encourage students as learners, you have to know about what they enjoy,” she said. “You try to get to know kids, what they feel their strengths are academically, and what they want to get out of your class.”

Students are learning plenty from summer classes according to David Jacobson, director of student services for the district.

“What we’re able to see is that students end up having better academic skills going forward,” Jacobson said. “Sometimes students feel that it has been able to help them focus a little bit better with long class periods and smaller class sizes.”

Summer school is just another way the school district helps students succeed, Jacobson said.

“I think we always want our students in the district to be the best they can,” he said. “If we can provide services that help students stay on track to graduate and meet their goals, then we should be able to do programs, such as summer school, to help them achieve those goals.”

The registration deadline for the credit-recovery classes at ACES has been extended until Monday, July 9. The registration deadline for high school English and math classes at Voyager has been extended until Friday, July 6.

More information about Summer School is available on the school district’s website at Call 425-356-1210 for additional details.

LaVendrick Smith is an intern for the Mukilteo Beacon.

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