Summer break? School is in during June for some

Summer break? School is in during June for some
Dave Mast

West Holmes’ summer school system allows teachers to create their own curriculum, which opens the door to them exploring some teaching opportunities that may have eluded them during the school year.


The end of May signified the end of the 2023-24 school year for students and staff in the West Holmes School District, but June offered a chance for staff members to invest in the lives of kids and for students to gain some educational time in the classroom during summer school.

Summer school for West Holmes High School students was designed for credit recovery. If a high school student needs to retake a class they failed during the regular school year, this is an opportunity to make that up.

The district had teachers available Monday through Thursday from 8-11 a.m. at the high school through June 27 to assist students with questions regarding the class they were retaking. The program used was the online platform Apex.

“This is an excellent opportunity for any student to get a class made up so they wouldn’t have to take it during the regular school year,” said Dawne O’Donnell, West Holmes High School guidance counselor. “This would allow them to be able to focus on their usual classes and possibly create availability to take an elective class.”

“These credit recovery classes are invaluable for students who by taking them won’t have to worry about taking them when school starts,” said Brian Baughman, West Holmes Schools curriculum director.

Classes also were designed at the elementary levels, providing students with educational opportunities that took them outside a typical classroom setting.

It is in the kindergarten through grade eight level that summer school takes on an entirely different look and feel as compared to the high school recovery class venue.

“The curriculum for those grade levels is almost entirely left up to each individual teacher,” Baughman said. “They know what is best for those kids at each grade level.”

He said the goal is to create summer school options that keep kids interested and invested in education, maintaining a focus on academics in fun and unique ways.

He said summer school can often open knew avenues of educational exploration because class sizes are extremely small and kids can get more one-on-one time with a teacher.

He said in doing so, it can really motivate kids to dig deeper into topics that oftentimes aren’t made available to them during the school year.

“Summer school truly is an opportunity for teachers to try some things that perhaps they weren’t able to fit into their normal school curriculum,” Baughman said.

Because teachers must closely follow the regulations passed along by the state in many instances, there isn’t a lot of time in the regular school year to explore some of the ideas teachers can come up with that would take learning outside the norm.

With a more relaxed and less rigid atmosphere, summer school can provide opportunities for teachers to invest in some fun educational projects.

“I think a lot of our teachers have some really neat ideas that they simply can’t implement during the school year that they can invest in during summer school,” Baughman said. “I think many of these summer school classes open up new avenues of learning for the students that they find very interesting.”

He said the hope is creating intriguing and new ways to teach might spur students to dig deeper into areas of study and invite them to ask questions they may be too afraid to ask in a normal school setting, mainly because summer school creates a more relaxed atmosphere where kids feel free to get more personally involved.

Whether it is for recovery purposes or inventive learning sessions, the students are the ones gaining value from a few weeks in summer school.

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