Summer school numbers are a bit down at some area school districts.
In the summer of 2019, prior to COVID-19, there were almost 4,600 registrations for various classes, according to information from Janesville School District spokesperson Patrick Gasper.
Last year, during the virtual summer school of 2020, registrants dropped to 1,450. As of Tuesday afternoon, the district was at 4,000 signups. Gasper estimated that is about 88% of normal attendance for summer school.
Why the attendance is lower is unknown, Gasper said. But he noted enrollment in public schools is down across the state. He said some parents are still concerned about the potential spread of COVID-19 and that not all kids are eligible for vaccines yet. Other families could be using the summer for travel after being cooped up during the pandemic year.
The district will continue to reach out to families to remind them about offerings, including free swimming lessons, a popular offering each year.
Summer school in Janesville opened Monday and will run through July 2. Most attendees are grade and middle schoolers, although there are some credit recovery options for older students. There are also special courses for those at transition points, such as for those entering kindergarten or orientation for sixth-graders.
After the July 4 holiday, other enrichment activities, such as weeklong camps, take place, including computer science coding camp and a summer strings camp. A variety of swimming lessons are available in two sessions, and students can take athletic camps, golf, the Nature Navigators course at the Janesville Schools Outdoor Laboratory and more.
As of Monday, the Beloit School District had 1,187 students enrolled for summer school in 2021. It had 670 students enrolled for summer school in 2020 which was virtual. It had 2,069 summer school students in 2019, according to information from Superintendent Dan Keyser.
Currently, students are enrolling for their high school courses, and the district will have numbers next Monday about student course selection of credit recovery and initial credit courses.
The Beloit School District will have three sessions of summer school for elementary and intermediate school students, which starts June 22 The high school’s offerings kick off next Monday.
Summer school will be full-time and in person after the district offered distance learning only for most of the 2020-21 school year. The district switched to a hybrid model with two days a week of in-person learning in April.
“We knew at the onset of our summer school planning that a five-day-a-week, in-person option would be beneficial and meet the needs of our families and students in many ways,” Keyser said. “I am pleased to see that so many of our families are able to take advantage of our comprehensive and enriching summer school program. We have worked hard to ensure that we are providing strong learning opportunities along with social engagement opportunities for our students.”
Summer school in the Clinton School District has 150 students coming in the first session and 140 in the second session with the musical and credit recovery attendance being around 25 students, according to Clinton Elementary and Summer School Principal Ben Simmons.
Simmons said numbers are only slightly down.
The Clinton district started with a cohort model, with some days in person and some days with virtual learning. Students had seven weeks of virtual time around the holidays and came back in mid-January to cohort instruction and went to full-time, in-person instruction in mid-February.
Simmons said it made for a long year and students who might be ready for a break. Nevertheless, there are plenty of opportunities for students this summer.
In Clinton, students in kindergarten through sixth grade have enrichment courses and fun classes such as “Under the Sea” or “Fun with Science” June 14 to July 2. A second session, July 12 to 30 helps kids get ready for the grade they will enter in the fall. A summer musical is held for kids in seventh through 12th grades, and a strength and conditioning course is available for middle and high schoolers. Summer school also is available for middle schoolers to make up or retake assessments and for high schoolers to recover credits.
The Beloit Turner School District started summer school Thursday. Summer school principal Ryan Bertelsen said there were about 240 students enrolled. There are also 82 students in a reading intervention program, participating both in person and virtually. The summer session will include core subjects such as reading and math, as well as courses in art, physical education, technology and music. Adams Publishing Group did not hear back from the district by press time regarding numbers for 2019 and 2020.
Summer school numbers in the Parkview School District are increasing. Superintendent Steve Lutzke said Parkview started summer school Tuesday and has about 180 students enrolled. Enrollment is about three times higher than last year and there are about 20 to 30 more students than in 2019.“Due to COVID-19, last year we didn’t do summer school until August and it ran from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. for two weeks,” Lutzke said. “This year, and years prior to COVID-19, we’ve had summer school in June and run it from 8 a.m. to noon for four weeks. We revamped our course offerings this year so students had more choice and flexibility. The revamped schedule allows a student to take some enrichment courses and some remedial courses. I think this is the reason for the increase.”