04/08/09 — Summer school canceled this year

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Summer school canceled this year

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on April 8, 2009 1:46 PM

Lacking sufficient money in its budget, the Wayne County public school system has no plans to offer summer school classes this year, except for kindergarten through second grade.

In anticipation of the cutback, educators around the county are trying to create alternative ways to tutor and remediate students as the school year winds down.

"Right now we don't have any kind of funding for any kind of summer school except for kindergarten through second grade. Our plans are to have a K-2 summer school for an identified group of students," said Dr. Sandra McCullen, associate superintendent for curriculum and instruction. "That's part of the two-year commitment from the county commissioners that they funded last year.

"The other (summer school) we're not sure of because of budgets. We don't know if we'll be able to offer anything."

Two weeks ago, Dr. McCullen would have been even less optimistic. But that was before April 1, when it was announced that Wayne County stands to receive an estimated $8.5 million federal stimulus package.

The money, earmarked for Title I schools and special education, has not been designated, opening up the possibility that it could be used for other programs. Dr. McCullen said the option might mean the difference in summer school.

"It's a possibility that we'll have it, but they're looking at the funding," she said. "We don't think we're going to hear anything in time, though."

So for now, high schools especially are introducing efforts to ensure students pass their courses this semester.

At Southern Wayne High School, for example, Saint Success was recently created as an alternative remediation program. By clipping off a few minutes from each class and lunch period, an extra 30 minutes were added to the regular school day, defraying from the need to provide transportation for students and offering a built-in tutoring session.

Parents are advised to contact their children's schools and find out what options might be available. Each school, Dr. McCullen said, is expected to have programs in place to assist students needing additional help. In some cases, teachers are offering their own time and students are tutoring other students, she said.

"Volunteers are coming in to try to help them be successful before the end of school. I certainly would encourage parents to call the schools to find out what kind of tutoring opportunities there are," she said.

There is another possibility for high school students this summer, Dr. McCullen said.

"Some of the high schools will have some credit recovery courses available in July, where they can take classes that they fail," she said, adding that students would have to provide their own transportation.

In the meantime, parents interested in the specifics of the K-2 summer school -- to be held at Tommy's Road, Carver and North Drive elementary schools -- should contact Gail Herring, elementary director for special projects, at 705-6166.

"Hopefully we will have some other options," Dr. McCullen said. "I wish we could go on and make some decisions but we can't until guidelines (for the stimulus funds) come down from the state and federal government."