Summer School Gives Vancouver Students a Head Start on the School Year

This summer thousands of students (grades 4-10) from across the city spent a part of their vacation at Summer School. The students weren't there because they had failed a course, but because they wanted to get a jump-start on the school year or try something new. Of the over 17,000 students who attended Summer School, over 3,900 were elementary school children and 1,400 were secondary school students enrolled in skills development courses. Over 5,000 were taking courses to get a head start on the upcoming year.   

"Summer school is so much more than just for kids who have failed, so much more. These students are exploring new skills and having fun. And many of them are looking at their senior years and getting foundation classes completed (like math 10 and science 10) so they have the foundation to take higher level courses in grade 12," says Kelly Hawbolt, Vice Principal of Summer School at Magee Secondary. 

Summer paintingAs well as course completion, many students are focused on enrichment programs like music, writing, acting, cooking, basketball, violin, playwriting, study skills, video games programming, and tennis.

Other popular programs are the grade prep classes offered to students from grade 4 to grade 8.  These courses help students beat their anxiety around the next big step in their education. Teachers and students explore expectations, what a typical day will look like, how to get by, and easing into the change of a new school and higher expectations. 

"It's a very diverse and active place to be. At the end of the summer the students put on a performance for fellow students, and their teachers and parents," says Hawbolt."The string instrument students, band and drama kids all perform. Some of the students perform plays that were written by fellow students". 

With over 900 government subsidized courses offered at elementary and high schools across the city, staff say summer school has quickly become a unique opportunity for fun, learning and growth. 

Be sure to check out the Continuing Studies website (http://ce.vsb.bc.ca) for more information on summer school and weekend courses for kids. 

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