A chance for schoolchildren to explore their creative side and their adventurous spirit, summer schools allow students to step outside the classroom during the summer holidays and reconnect with their peers on campus grounds or in nearby event spaces.
For some students, it may sound like extra tuition over the holidays and another pile of homework to work through. Still, to others, it’s an engaging experience that allows them to work on their study skills, to improve their communicative abilities and most importantly, have fun!
Recently published in the American Educational Research Journal (AERJ), author Angela Johnson from NWEA, a nonprofit assessment organisation, produced a study that focused on the impact summer school programmes have on high school English learners (EL).
Leveraging student-level data from a large urban district in California, Johnson investigated the efficacy of a summer credit recovery programme aimed at expanding high school newcomer ELs’ access to an academic subject.
Focusing on a summer school that hoped to help English learners improve their results in subjects such as English Language Arts (ELA), Science and Maths, the collected data showed that listening, speaking and writing skills increased among the participants, along with overall proficiency.
“The findings show that the programme had positive effects on the number of English language arts and math courses students took during their four years of high school, including college-prep ELA. And while students did not take a significant number of science and social studies courses during the summer, enrollment in these during the school year increased,” adds Education Dive.
From this data, we can assume that summer school exposure widens students’ desire to explore different disciplines.
As a summer school programme is often designed to inspire participants’ passions and encourage them to try something new, effectiveness may be measured by student engagement in varied lessons once the summer school is over.
And in this instance, the study exemplifies increased student engagement in science and social studies.
Another effective attribute of summer schools lies in their free-flow structure.
Tailored to suit individual learners’ interests and to swerve parents’ participation, there are no rules on how these schools should be structured.
For example, the MIT Center for Real Estate (CRE) collaborated with the nonprofit NEXUS Summer Programmes to produce a 12-day, in-residence course this summer, which welcomed 28 high school juniors and seniors the MIT campus.
Hailing from high schools in Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington, the summer programme participants were taught about the fundamental aspects of commercial real estate, received SAT prep and presentation coaching from industry experts, and were introduced to many career opportunities.
“We exist to provide college-bound teens with the tools needed to thrive on campus. Alongside a focus on both academic and career development, NEXUS also provides immersive experiences in self-discovery, including opportunities to build confidence and self-sufficiency away from home,” says the Founder of NEXUS Summer Programmes, Ric Ramsey.
Despite differences in shape and structure, it’s clear that there’s a common ground of togetherness shared by summer schools.
All aiming to inspire students, trigger newfound talents and help learners build a better future, summer schools are an integral addition to the K12 climate and the diverse high school journey.