It might be the middle of summer break, but some students haven’t slowed down on their studies.
The Scottsdale Unified School District, which is home to five high schools, has thousands of students taking summer school.
June and July online and classroom enrollment is at 3,038 for the 2016 summer, down 8 percent from summer 2015, 3,311.
The number doesn’t necessarily represent 3,000 students though, says Scottsdale Schools Executive Director of Special Education and Student Services, Dr. Milissa Sackos. Students can take more than one online course, but are restricted to taking only one in-classroom course at a time.
Specifically, there were 570 classroom enrollments and 1,195 online enrollments in June; and 486 classroom enrollments and 894 online enrollments in July.
“Some students are taking more than one online class, though not a lot,” she said in a July 14 e-mailed response to questions.
Scottsdale Schools offers both online and in-class courses to meet the needs of all students — subjects range from core classes to electives such as archeology, drawing and painting and physical education.
“Many students from outside our district take advantage of our summer offerings,” said Dr. Sackos. “In the classroom setting, we offer 16 classes. Math and Social Studies are the most popular.”
Classes are at Coronado High School, 7501 E. Virginia Ave., and computer labs are available for students at every high school.
On the online side, with over 100 classes offered, math, social studies, Spanish and physical education are the most sought after.
“There are a multitude of reasons why students opt to take summer school. Some will repeat a course to earn a passing grade,” said Dr. Sackos.
“Additionally the increase of state requirements to graduate has made it increasingly difficult for some students to immerse themselves in a rigorous curriculum while at the same time pursue other passions.”
As a result, students may take summer courses in order to get ahead or free up additional time in their schedule to pursue other electives, CTE offerings, arts or athletics.
“Online learning in particular has seen a steady increase, year after year, since we introduced it six years ago in the summer,” said Dr. Sackos. “This is the first year it’s held steady and I believe it is because students are able to take online courses during the school year in addition to their regular schedule.”
Offering online summer programs are beneficial to teachers and employees as well, according to Dr. Sackos, because it provides additional opportunities and jobs. This summer there were 38 online teachers and 21 classroom teachers.
“Additionally, we have computer lab monitors, busing, cafeteria, security, IT support, registration and many more staff supporting our students,” said Dr. Sackos.