St Louis Schools Implement Mandatory Summer School for All Eighth Graders

Written by Patricia Hawke for Schools K-12

For some time within the public schools across the nation, there has been a focus on academic achievement by improving basic skills, decreasing the high school dropout rate, and preparing students to enter both college and the workplace. 

The St Louis schools have found that too many ninth graders are unprepared for the crucial years of high school. Many are so far behind in basic skills that they never catch up and eventually drop out of school.  Others go on to graduate with only a meager grasp of the core subjects. These St Louis schools students are unprepared to enter college, to merge into the workplace, or even to have a successful life.

The St Louis schools believe that the key is to shore up the basic skills of the eighth graders.  It is a time in a student’s educational life that can make or break their successful forward progress. The St Louis schools want to ensure eighth graders know the core subjects that are built upon in high school and to motivate these children to learn and to succeed.  The St Louis schools intend to put all of their students on the path to success — not failure.

This year, the St Louis schools implemented what they consider a necessary intervention — it is now mandatory for all eighth graders to attend summer school.  Here, students will focus on preparing for success at the high school level. The St Louis schools eighth graders will be expected to achieve proficiency in the communication arts and mathematics, which are crucial to achievement and success in high school, college and the workplace. Those eighth graders, who do not require remedial work in these subjects, will be enrolled in summer science camp.

Is it any wonder that St Louis schools educators were looking forward to summer school with mixed emotions. There were feelings of anticipation, knowing that this move by the St Louis schools would give the students the best boost academically. Yet, there were some concerns that students and parents might rebel against the mandate.

Anticipation won out for the St Louis schools as the first day of summer school arrived. Nearly 80 percent of the eighth graders were enrolled by the week before the start of summer school — that is more than 1,800 students. Many more eighth graders showed up as walk-ins on the first day. The St Louis schools believe that summer school is off to a great start, which is a tribute to both the students and their parents.

This is the type of commitment to academic growth that is truly rewarding — for the students, their parents, and the St Louis schools.

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