School Board Approves Summer School Program

(Photo by GANT News Editor Jessica Shirey)

CLEARFIELD – On Monday night, the Clearfield school board approved holding its summer school program.

Summer school will begin June 7 and run through June 20 at the Clearfield Area Junior-Senior High School.

It will be held from 12 p.m. – 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 8 a.m. – 11 a.m. Friday during the above dates.

Courses are offered to students below a certain proficiency level, and the teachers will work for up to 30 hours.

Before the vote, board member Gail Ralston asked for discussion on how to enrich the program to meet students’ needs.

Since 2015, she said the job description for summer school hasn’t changed when presented for board approval.

“We’re giving our teachers 30 hours to teach students who are expected to complete 30 hours of work,” she said. “I don’t see how individual needs are being met.”

According to Ralston, the district’s teachers have 40-minute plan periods daily. She said while looking at students’ performance and who will pass, they are already aware of students in need.

“Is there some way to implement the program now?” she asked. “We need to target our students in need, help them and alleviate problems causing them to take summer school.”

Ralston said she was positive the guidance department could create that list of students and their specific needs. She said it would at least be a start to implement programs during study halls and activity periods.

She said they all needed to ask themselves if the district was really meeting the needs of all of its students and using all available materials at hand.

Ralston asked about the possibility of incorporating academic computer programs, such as Study Island. She said they should be looking to help the students beyond just credit recovery for graduation.

She then suggested the board table action on the summer school program for the purposes of a group discussion on enriching it.

Board member Tim Morgan asked how many students are usually in the summer school program. Principal Tim Janocko said it varies and there were probably 40-50 students last year.

Janocko reminded the board that the program was revived five years ago. He said the school has had great success with it, because the teachers create the packets straight from the students’ coursework.

“But anything we can do to help meet the students’ needs, I’m all for that,” he said.

Assistant Principal Heather Prestach said the summer school program was initially made up of four teachers but morphed into the inclusion of a special education teacher and a counselor.

In addition, she said teachers used to have general packets for the core subject areas. However, they have started to really tailor packets to each individual student.

“Our teachers are looking at what students didn’t do in a course to cause a lower grade,” Prestach said.

Ralston then asked Janocko if the students are tested after completing their work. He said some teachers do evaluations and others could in the future, at which point Superintendent Terry Struble pointed out that assessments could be papers, projects, speeches, etc.

Ralston said at a meeting a couple years ago, she asked about being able to review student performance data, but it was never provided to the board.

“I can tell you this: this is the most we’ve ever done, and this is the best we’ve ever done,” said Janocko.

He said when he was the school’s guidance counselor, they sent away for courses for students who completed them at home.

“And, I am not sure it was always the kid who completed the course,” he said. “Then, we went from that to nothing for a few years.”

Janocko said students who complete the packet receive a 70 percent, and all of the work in the summer school program is done in the classroom.

Ralston said she still believed the district could enrich the program, and board President Larry Putt reminded her that it was April and the next meeting wasn’t until May.

Janocko and Prestach said the teachers re-evaluate the packets every year and are working on them now. They said they could speak to them to see if they felt further remediation was necessary.

Struble explained that only students who are between a 60 and 70 percent can complete summer school. He said if a student has a 30 or 40 percent, they must retake the course.

At the conclusion of the discussion, Putt called for a motion to approve the summer school program. It passed, 6-1, with Ralston being the only opposing vote.

Board members Jennifer Hughes and Phil Carr were absent from the meeting.

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