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March 7, 2013

Expanded summer school at Lewis Cass

Cass County high schools to offer summer programs for remediation, acceleration

WALTON — Lewis Cass students with good grades might be the ones in summer school this year.

Administrators at Southeastern School Corporation are considering offering on-campus courses for both remediation and accelerated students this summer. Biology, ninth-grade English and 12th-grade government and economics top the list of classes the school may offer on campus in June, an associate principal said.

Don Young, associate principal in charge of the Lewis Cass summer school program, said some students have said they would like to attend classes off-site at a local career center, but would be unable to take one of the senior courses required for graduation if they did so.

“In order to do that, something in their schedule’s got to give,” said Young.

Other students want to make more room for electives that don’t count toward graduation, like band — in which more than a quarter of Lewis Cass’s student body participates, according to John Bevan, superintendent of Southeastern School Corporation.

The school is may offer physical education and algebra over the summer as well, depending on the level of interest or how many students need to make up failed courses.

Last year, about a dozen students completed remedial classes over the summer through a virtual academy Lewis Cass is part of. No classes were offered on the Lewis Cass campus, though.

Teachers this year could teach from 8 a.m. to noon on weekdays in June, wrapping up classes before the Fourth of July weekend, Young said.

Online classes would still be available for students who choose that route or for subjects where there aren’t enough students to justify a full class on campus.

As far as class sizes go, “we’re hoping for somewhere between 10 to 15,” Young said. “and if they’re larger than that, we’re good.”

Smaller class sizes and additional hands-on projects tackled in summer classes could benefit students who’ve struggled in a traditional schoolroom, Young said.

He expects to query students and parents about their interest starting next week.

“We want to try to let the kids know as soon as possible so if they get a summer job, they can let the boss know that hey, I’ve got a class from 8 to noon, I could start work at 1 p.m.,” said Young.

Funding for the summer classes will come through a state summer school program that reimburses schools for certain remedial classes and any ninth through 12th-grade classes that count toward an Indiana Core 40 diploma.

“I just think the value of this could be great to keep kids on track and some students may just need a little different learning environment,” said Young.

Lewis Cass won’t be the only Cass County high school launching summer classes for accelerated students.

Logansport High School will permit students to take online classes for both remediation and acceleration, according to principal Matt Jones.

The summer acceleration program is new this year, Jones said.

“We feel these get-ahead courses will free up space in students’ schedules during the regular school year,” he explained. “They can take more classes yearly and explore different areas of study by having the flexibility in their schedules.”

Four traditional classes — physical education, algebra I, 10th grade English and advanced physical conditioning — will also be offered through June.

Last year, 225 students took remedial summer classes, Jones said. He expects 50 to 60 students to participate specifically in the acceleration program this summer.

Sarah Einselen is news editor for the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at sarah.einselen@pharostribune.com or 574-732-5151.

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