TORRINGTON – Summer school principals Dave Plendl and Tim Williams presented a recap of the seasonal session to the Goshen County School District (GCSD) No. 1 Board of Trustees at a meeting Tuesday evening.
Plendl, who oversaw middle and high school summer school, and Williams, in charge of elementary, agreed the educational endeavor was a success for those students who attended.
Williams said his administrative team called each family of every elementary student invited to attend summer school.
“The biggest reason kids (didn’t want) to attend was the testing,” he said, adding some students skipped the last two days of summer school to avoid tests.
“Other than that, I felt like we had a really successful summer school,” Williams said. “We started with 110 students, and 103 finished.”
He complimented the teachers involved, as well as the Learning Upgrade program – which offers virtual, individualized lessons that adapt to student’s responses.
“Learning Upgrade, in my opinion, is very effective,” he said.
During middle school summer school, Plendl told the board teachers chose an eclipse-related theme to engage students.
“(The) five levels of astronaut candidate school for the students to earn seemed to be a positive and enjoyable motivating factor for the students,” Plendl said. “There was a daily ‘Student Of The Day’ that was recognized at the beginning of each day. That was another positive source of recognition for the students.”
He also touted the effectiveness of Learning Upgrade and expressed a desire for summer school to be considered an enrichment program – not simply a means for remediation.
“It should not be a place where all the students who failed go,” Plendl said in a memo to the board. “Students of average to above-average proficiency want opportunities to excel.”
Out of the 87 students invited to attend middle school summer school, 27 enrolled.
In the future, Plendl suggested including fifth-graders in middle school summer school. “It would help begin the transition for the students into middle school and allow the teachers to work with and establish a positive rapport with their new students,” he said.
High school students who attended the 2017 summer session earned 31 semesters of credits (one-half credit equals one semester) in math, English and history.
“Forty (high school) students were recommended/invited to summer school,” Plendl said in the memo. “Twenty-eight attended, with 12 choosing not to attend and two did not continue to attend once started.”
He added Torrington High School counselor Michele Ogburn ensured all classes needed are included in students’ upcoming class schedule.
“The exciting thing is, now every senior at Torrington High School is back on track to graduate on time with their class,” Plendl said. “The opportunity for every student to earn their diploma on time is legitimately there for the (earning).”