Saturday, May 8, 2010

No More Summer School--Could Online Classes Help?

Well, summer school seems to be a thing of the past thanks to the country's financial woes. California is hemorrhaging in all aspects of the economy due to real estate speculation among other things.

This has hit schools hard and fast. The impact has hit ELLs the most due to the fact that most of them will not be able to catch up on credits. This means that they will not graduate from high school. Think about it. It takes them 2 years more or less to master just enough English to go into mainstream classes leaving them only 2 tops 3 years to catch up and that is with summer school. Take summer school out of the picture and this throws a major roadblock up. For the most part, these kids are told to go to a community college, but they have laid off teachers and cut down on enrollments. These students (most of whom are American citizens) are caught between a rock and a hard place.

I would like to propose that online courses be provided for them to catch up. Teachers in course alike teams, who know what types of accommodations be made available with the course for ELLs, should be paid to create online classes that carry graduation credits. Schools should allow kids without computers and internet at home (and most don't have it) to work on assignments in their computer/media centers centers after school with paid teaching personnel support there to assist as needed. The work would be grade level appropriate and allow ELLs a chance at catching up. They might even have a chance to graduate.

I am proposing this at my school site. The problem is squeezing it into our 6 period day. Here we need to think outside the box of traditional programming. Maybe industry can come to the rescue and provide us with cheap laptops for kids to check out. That is a long shot I admit, but it doesn't hurt to hope.

Any ideas? Suggestions?




  1. Money continues to shrink at the school site. It would be terrific if businesses would help out a bit. Our school budgets have been cut to the bone. There is nothing else to cut!

    Are there donors out there who could help these kids who have so little to begin with, but who are working hard at trying to graduate?



  2. As much as I don't like working with businesses this is a good idea. Donations are always a necessity in poorer and poorer districts. The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is a slam dunk, I hope. Local businesses might be more amenable to contributing to their community.

    Ethnically based businesses - restaurants and stores might also be more willing to donate. Many cities have organizations like the Chinese American society, etc. which also might be willing to donate and/or hold a fund raising event. Publishers might be willing to donate a class set of learner dictionaries or something along those lines if we put a mention of the donation. Religious social action groups might as well - without the advertising.

    We have to become more creative these days. It feels like a distraction of our already over taxed energy, but.... Maybe this could be a community service project for learners who need one to graduate. It is too hard to get resources at this point and with pay cuts, furloughs, etc., teachers are less and less able to buy a lot for their classes.

    Well, some thoughts on the subject.

    Marnie Schwartz, M.A.
    The National Hispanic University

  3. For FREE materials for teachers, the best site I know is http://www.iloveschools.com/ Teachers can register and request what they need. This is much better than wading through websites with lists of free stuff that you have no interest in. I hope this helps. I know how hard it is for teachers these days.