New elementary, middle school summer programs introduced

Several new classes have been added to the summer school program beginning Tuesday, June 7 in the Cassingham complex.

Summer school Principal Toby Fischer said that 80% of the 67 elementary through high school summer classes offered are new, with a wide variety of curriculum available to students.

Fischer said most new classes are intervention, art, science or language classes. Most of these classes are targeted toward elementary students, he explained.

Meanwhile, he said, no additional high school summer courses will be added.

Fischer said there are only a few high school classes currently offered during the summer.

The most popular of these classes are Personal Finance and Capstone and online Health, he said.

“One class I’m excited to go watch is Mission to Mars,” he explained. “It’s a middle school class that is going to do an alien dissection using a squid that looks like an alien.”

Fischer said these classes have been added so that students can make up credits and have opportunities to learn about topics that were not heavily focused on during the school year.

Additionally, teachers have the ability to choose what class they teach over the summer, giving them more flexibility throughout the planning and teaching processes, he said.

“It’s a whole new crowd of great teachers coming in to teach this summer, which means all new classes as well,” Fischer said.

High school Spanish teacher Jennifer Cedeno is hosting an immersive Spanish program for elementary students this summer.

“I think that this class is filling the void that was caused by the cutting of the Spanish program in the elementary school,” Cedeno said. “It is giving students interested a chance to be exposed to the language and culture.”

She said it will be held three times a week, and there will be morning and afternoon sessions.

Fischer said that new classes were able to be added to the summer school program because of increased funding from the COVID-19 relief fund.

He explained that with the extra funds allocated during COVID-19, the school was able to host classes tailored to teaching students necessary information while keeping the classes light and interesting to younger students.

“We were able to have students come in for all of these fun camp-like classes as opposed to focusing on getting credits,” he said.

He said prior to the pandemic, the summer programs were much more like traditionally structured courses.

“In the future as the COVID-19 money runs out, we’ll see if summer school remains how it is now, or if we’ll have to return to a more classic summer school,” he said.

Fischer explained that this summer, only two classes will be held online and the rest are to be held in person.

Junior Lily Keller said she applied to take online Health this upcoming summer.

“I am excited to take Health during the summer as opposed to during the school year,” she said. “I knew I wouldn’t have room in my schedule next year, so this option was perfect for me.”

English teacher Michelle Rogers has been teaching an in-person college planning course for 11 years.

Rogers said that the class guides rising seniors on how to write their Common Application essay and other college supplements.

“Summer is a good time for rising seniors to focus on college planning before the busyness of the new school year and looming application deadlines,” Rogers added.

She said her class will last one week, and it will be held in the high school library.

Based on the success of last summer’s programs, Fischer said he believes that this summer will be equally beneficial.

“We’ll see what happens in the future, but for now I think that summer school has become a lot more engaging for students,” he said.