If you’re looking for classes your student can take this summer, your options are slim.
Schools significantly have cut back on summer school classes in recent years, and the ones they do offer typically are geared toward students who need help catching up, need to retake classes or are looking to get certain classes out of the way.
And often, those classes will be offered online.
For the first time in two years, all Whiteland Community High School students will get a chance to take summer school gym. As many as 150 students used to take the class over the summer. In 2012, Clark-Pleasant enacted a rule that students could only take summer school in order to improve a bad grade or take the class to graduate. As a result, numbers dropped from 78 students in 2012 to 19 last year.
But now, officials want to open up the class again for students who want to make room in their schedule for other courses during the school year.
So many courses are offered that students often don’t have enough time to take all the classes they want, Clark-Pleasant assistant superintendent John Schilawski said. Administrators want students to fit in all of the courses they want during the school year, so getting a class like gym out of the way in summer is an easy way for students to do that, he said.
“Now, as we’re opening things up and creating more opportunities, then we’ve got to open (summer school) up so we can take advantage of the newly created opportunities,” Schilawski said.
Clark-Pleasant is preparing for at least 60 students to take summer school physical education, but if 150 students sign up, officials are prepared to bring in more educators for the summer gym class, Schilawski said.
For now, physical education and remediation are the only classes that students can take at the high school in the summer. But other courses can be taken online, which has been another trend for schools in past years.
For example, Whiteland Community High School students can take health class online, meaning they can do coursework while on vacation yet still get the required class out of the way, Schilawski said.
“A lot of kids are not willing to commit their summers,” Schilawski said.
That has been the trend other local schools have noticed. Greenwood now offers mostly online classes.
Franklin only promotes traditional summer school for students who need to improve a grade or retake a class.
Online courses have been the best choice for the students and for Greenwood schools, Greenwood assistant superintendent of learning Rick Ahlgrim said.
Students can take the classes on their own schedule, and the school district doesn’t need to pay for transportation costs to get the students to school.
Summer classes free up students’ schedules, Ahlgrim said. Economics and government courses — which are necessary to graduate — have been the most popular summer school offerings because those courses fill up quickly during the school year, Ahlgrim said.
“The classes have been full during the year, and by offering it during the summer, we let kids take it during the summer and reduce class size,” Ahlgrim said.
Franklin students have the option to take classes in the summer to free up their schedules, but it hasn’t been a popular choice in the past five years, said Deb Brown-Nally, Franklin executive director of curriculum and instruction.
“Any time we’ve tried to offer high school summer school classes, they’re not very well attended,” Brown-Nally said.
“They want a break in their summer.”
Last year, about 30 incoming freshmen were offered a chance to take a reading course to get ahead in high school, but only five students signed up, Brown-Nally said.
As a result, Franklin Community High School only offers one course — health — for students to take online if they want to get a class out of the way, Franklin Academy coordinator Dawn Geisler said.
And it still isn’t very popular, she said. Last year, 140 students took summer school, and a very small percentage took health class online, Geisler said.