Summer school used to be for students completing courses they failed

Summer school used to be for students completing courses they failed

Chilliwack kids give up summer for school

Summer school is no longer just a place to complete failed classes; many students are now using it to get an edge in their education.

Fourteen-year-old Samir Rehmtulla is giving up a month of his summer break to get ahead in school.

The Vedder middle school student is taking English 9 and Science 9 this month through the Chilliwack school district’s summer learning program – not because he has to, but because he wants to.

The straight-A student, who will be taking an accelerated English program next year that will have him completing both the Grade 9 and 10 curriculums, figured it would give him a leg up come September.

“I just thought this would give me a good head start,” he said. “I know the workload’s going to be quite a bit heavier compared to Grade 8, and by getting a head start on these subjects it will give me more time to focus on the other subjects.”

Samir isn’t the only student looking to get ahead.

This year the school district has 617 students registered in its grades 1-9 summer school offerings; 3,564 students are taking Grade 10-12 courses at Fraser Valley Distance Education over the summer months; and for the first time, the elementary spots are full and have a waiting list.

According to summer learning vice principal Paul Allanson, several of his students are there because they want to be, not just because they failed a course as was the norm with summer school in years past.

“It’s giving them a sneak peak into what the learning expectations are going to be,” said Allanson.

At Fraser Valley Distance Ed, while some of the students are carry overs from the school year, others are specifically taking summer courses, like physical education, biology, English, math and planning 10 to “make room in their time table for electives they are interested in,” said vice principal Sharon Bernard.

Taking courses ahead of schedule is an option that was made easier when the B.C. government made summer school free for all students in 2008. In Chilliwack, the school district embraced the move.

In addition to providing core courses, summer learning features two-week preview courses in areas of literacy and mathematics for students in grades 1-6. A summer-specific planning 10 course was also offered at FVDES this year, of which 161 students took advantage. As well, a math 10 prep course was offered to Grade 9 students outlining the different concepts taught in foundations 10 and pre-calculus 10 to better assist students in choosing a suitable math path for Grade 10.

“What I have heard from former Grade 10 students is they didn’t expect math 10 foundations and pre-calculus to be so challenging,” said Allanson. “This gives them a sneak peak into the year ahead.”

Parent Marianne Pastoor enrolled her youngest sons into the Be Fit for Lit elementary program in hopes they wouldn’t experience a summertime lapse in their reading and writing abilities.

Pastoor’s sons Jordan, 8, and Hayden, 9, have struggled with school from the beginning. Jordan, who has a speech impediment, is two years behind his grade level despite his mom regularly working with him after school and on weekends. After seeing how Be Fit for Lit helped Hayden last year, Pastoor made sure to put both sons in this year.

“Hayden’s reading improved quite a bit and his writing got neater and more coherent; he’s finally caught up to his reading level,” said Pastoor. “I’m just trying to keep their memories fresh.”

Student Chloe Newbury, who admitted she’d rather be with friends than in school, conceded her summer sacrifice will likely be worth it in the long run.

“I’m hoping to get an A in math instead of a C- next year and hopefully a higher mark in humanities too,” said Chloe, 13, who struggled in those courses last year. “I’m hoping that by doing this, I’ll be able to better understand it, I won’t struggle, it won’t be as hard.”

For Samir, “it’s not so bad. I’m only taking two subjects, so I’m still getting some free time to hang out with friends and play tennis.” And besides, “if you do well in school, you’re going to have a better chance at getting a good job out of school.”

Just Posted

Raeya Evie Duncan was the 100th baby born at Chilliwack General Hospital for the month of May. She is seen here with her parents Alysha Williams and Andrew Duncan on June 12, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Baby boom in Chilliwack as record number of infants born at CGH in May

‘COVID babies are coming out,’ says dad of 100th baby born at Chilliwack General Hospital last month

Syringes prepared with Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination site in Long Beach, Calif., Friday, March 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Walk-ins welcome at upcoming G.W. Secondary vaccine clinic

Second consecutive Saturday Fraser Health has scheduled a same-day clinic in a Chilliwack school

Migrating sockeye in the Fraser River August 7, 2007. (Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
First Nations, commercial, and recreational harvesters join forces to save Fraser River fish

‘We have to work together to rebuild these stocks while there is still time,’ says delegate

Vancouver courthouse. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Man loses bid to appeal conviction for 1999 rape at Abbotsford music festival

James Redden, 53, formerly of Nanaimo, was found guilty in 2019 following six-day trial

Dozens of demonstrators gathered in March at the Hope Station House, showing support for preserving the 1916 building. (Photo/Christian Ward)
New reports breathe life into efforts to save the Hope Station House

The documents were presented to District of Hope Council at a meeting June 14

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

A worker, at left, tends to a customer at a cosmetics shop amid the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday, May 20, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Half of cosmetics sold in Canada, U.S. contain toxic chemicals: study

Researchers found that 56% of foundations and eye products contain high levels of fluorine

Most Read