Summer school principal for the Scotia-Glenville School District Frank Roselli told the board of education at the Monday, Aug. 25, meeting that the program’s success rate was high, meaning that many students are now back on track for the fall, the main goal if the district’s program.
Many courses had a 100 percent passing rate, including math and social studies courses. The statistics also reflect those students that may have voluntarily dismissed themselves for reasons such as moving out of the district.
Despite its success, board member Ben Conlon asked if there is a more cost-effective way to offer summer school, particularly when enrollment for a class hovers around five students.
At $1,400 per teacher, couldn’t we look at working with neighboring districts to offer a summer school program? I am not sure a low enrollment substantiates the money we spend, said Conlon.
While some courses only have three or four students, Superintendant Susan Swartz, said the program is still essential.
Swartz reminded the board that summer school cost is at $3 per student. Those who live outside the district pay a $400 fee. Swartz said summer school will never be a money maker.
`The concept behind summer school is really to give kids an opportunity to catch up, and sometimes these are students who need more of that one-on-one than they get with a small summer school class,` said Swartz.
Director of Curriculum Joe Kavanaugh said he felt it was a productive summer session. He said the state tags districts that have a high number of students not completing high school in four years. He said summer school helps to keep students on track for that four-year model, but he added that graduating in four years is not what drives the program.
The number of behavioral referrals during the summer program did rise, prompting questions from the board. The summer ended with 16 referrals, up from seven last year. Roselli said that the number increased partially to an incident that included multiple students. He also said that several students came into the program who had averaged many referrals during the school year. He said when those students left at the end of the summer with only two referrals, that was actually a positive.
Kavanaugh said that while the benchmark number for enrollment is five per class, he said they do allow four at time. He said getting kids to take summer school classes that they fail during the year is a win-win situation for everyone.
`If these students go back into the mix in the fall, it will often boost a class of 25 to 30, which we want to avoid,` said Kavanaugh.
The board also discussed its need to increase the availability of its driver’s education program. Roselli said they had to turn away students this year because they were unable to find an additional driving instructor for a third session. Roselli said instructors are very scarce in New York state. The board is looking into the possibility of outsourcing to a driving school for next summer.“