High demand placed on East Texas summer schools

Published: Jul. 15, 2021 at 12:54 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 15, 2021 at 4:25 PM CDT
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NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - The strains of COVID-19 on students in 2020 led to a higher demand for summer school in 2021. In the Nacogdoches Independent School District, summer school enrollment increased by about 200 students over 2019, and most of that was seen at the high school level.

But educators are noticing summer school is not just for catch-up. It can also help students get ahead. There’s room in the classroom for both needs.

One would hardly know it’s summer by the hallway activity at Nacogdoches High School. The bell rings on a Thursday afternoon. A swarm of students hit the door.

“At the high school we’ve seen an increase in the numbers. It was a tough year for one thing, related to the pandemic,” said Les Linebarger, NISD spokesperson. “Virtual learning just doesn’t work for everyone.”

So, summer school teacher Matthew Higgins works in a limited amount of time to catch students up.

“Twelve actual days left until the last day of the session,” Higgins reminds students.

The tool, surprisingly, is a computer program. But according to teachers, far different from virtual learning.

“They are working at their own pace, with a certified teacher, with structure, in a classroom,” points out Higgins.

The self-pace helps the struggling student. It’s also popular with students wanting to get ahead.

Pointing around the classroom Higgins said, “Most of these guys are high speed, hard chargers.”

Which quarter back Gus Smith uses on the football field and the classroom.

“I have sports which can be very busy with homework and stuff. And getting those credits done during the summer, you don’t have near as much homework after school is a really big thing for me,” said the high school senior.

High school credit recovery programs aren’t new in high schools, but more students are seeing the advantages.

Some students in Higgins’ classroom was ready to take the end-of-course test by the third day. And after the strains of COVID-19 a little classroom work in the summer eases the transition when face to face classes hit in the fall.

The first day of class in NISD is August 23.

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