Local schools may be closed for the summer, but for some students, the summer months are a time to get ahead.
Josh Terrell, teacher at Sylvan Learning Center in Niles, said that many students come to Sylvan Learning Centers for remedial skills during the summer months. He said that students will come to the center to brush up on their math or reading skills to stay ahead.
"We offer upper division math programs for algebra and geometry, catered for students who just would like to stay ahead," Terrell said. "We also offer reading programs for younger students and academic reading for older students in middle school and high school students.''
"Some students take classes during the summer to get ahead if they are trying to a certain level of math, for example," said Dan Campana, guidance counselor at Howland High School. "The school may not have the prerequisite offered at the time, but they could take the prerequisite during the summer."
Summer is also a good time to keep academic skills strong through guided practice.
"We have a couple of families who bring their children in here in the summer to stay ahead with their studies," Terrell said. "I always suggest to students that they should read during the summer and read books or publications that interest them the most, instead of just playing video games."
Reading is the best recreational and educational skill to keep students in the frame of mind for school during the summer months. Cheryl Bush, public relations manager at the Warren-Trumbull County Public Library, said that the library offers excellent summer reading activities for children and teens. The Warren-Trumbull County Public Library has branch locations in Brookfield, Cortland, Howland, Liberty, Lordstown as well as the main library in Warren. Bush said that these summer reading programs are offered at each of the library's locations as well as the library's Bookmobile.
"A lot of our summer reading program events combine education with fun," Bush said. "It helps children with their reading skills when they return back to school in the fall. Our summer reading program draws in reluctant readers because we draw in reading with hands-on activities, crafts and puppet shows."
Summer school also offers students a chance to catch up if they failed to pass a class or need additional help in a subject.
"The advantage of taking a summer remediation course is that the student gets the credit they did not receive during the school year," Campana said. "If a student fails a subject such as government, which they have to have to graduate, they could take it during the following year or the summer. It depends on the course."
Carlotta Sheets, supervisor of human resources at the Trumbull County Educational Service Center, said that during the summer the center offers a web-based educational curriculum titled Trumbull Virtual Learning Academy.
"The TVLA has offered summer school to students for the past eight years," said Sheets, who has been in charge of the program for the past four years. "With the TVLA, students can take the courses on it, for credit recovery or if they need to obtain new credit to advance.
''The program is 100 percent online and runs eight weeks, from registration to the time when the student obtains their grades. Content is available 24/7, and it is offered for grades 6 to 12."
TVLA is an ideal alternative if a student needs to make up a class during the summer months.
"Let's say a student fails math class," Sheets said. "When they take the course on the TVLA, it is a condensed version of the math course that they had in school. If they complete and pass the course on the TVLA, it will count as a credit when the student returns back to school."
Sheets said that the TVLA is convenient for students as a summer school alternative.
"Our courses on the TVLA are available to any student in any Ohio school district and are not just available to just Trumbull County students," Sheets said. "What is convenient about the TVLA is that students can take these courses from their home computers. All they have to do is log in with their username and password. That is the biggest advancement."
However, parents and students should keep in mind that the summer months are a short period of concentrated learning compared to the length of the academic school year.
"The best advice for students is to focus hard during the school year," Campana said. "It's really difficult to complete work in the summer, because the time period is really short."
Learning during the summer months should be a balance between discipline and recreational fun.
"I think it's important for students to find hobbies during the summer that they are good at, besides just general school subjects," Terrell said.
"In the summer, it's good for students to find work or a skill of personal interest, because what children learn today might help them with a career choice in the future. For instance, a child who likes to work on his bicycle might be a mechanic or a child who builds forts outside in their yard might go into construction in the future,'' he said.