Summer school registration Saturday

Summer School
Incoming freshmen shoot video for a tech class during summer school in 2010. Photo by Maithy Tran

Registration for summer school continues on Saturday, April 30, for current and future Kerr students.

Originally intended for students to get ahead or to make up class credits, summer school underwent a significant change last year.

In the past, Kerr students would take summer school classes at Taylor or one of the other district high schools, which meant that they went through the courses in the tradition classroom-style of teaching.

Last summer, however, Kerr held its own summer school, using PAKs and other familiar methods.

Though summer school was foreign to most incoming freshmen, the preview they got last summer of Kerr and how it works allowed them to adapt to the PAK system and learn about the school before the actual academic year.

“Summer school at Kerr was really new to me because I’ve never been to the school and I’m already taking a summer school class,” freshman Jason Quach said. “But it also gave me a chance to know the school better without having all the people being there.”

Aside from learning their way around the campus, students also had a chance to discover their own methods of dealing with PAKS.

“I just took out bits of [PAKS] and just broke it down to smaller pieces,” freshman Andrew Nguyen said. “It was a bit of a hard process but it got a bit easier [as time went by].”

For students who’ve taken summer school at both Taylor and Kerr, the change has had a definite positive effect on them.

“…It was a good experience because I was used to looking at the book and it confused me a lot,” junior Jocelyn Hernandez said. “And then in summer school, there were less students and [the teacher] actually taught us and gave us a lot of examples to understand.

“At Taylor, all I had to do was show up, so I actually learned at Kerr [summer school].”

More hands-on teaching meant that elements from traditional school were incorporated.

“Summer school for me  was more like summer school at other high schools [because] the teacher actually explains everything,” junior Carlos Cruz said. “I like it better that way because I can understand it better.”

Teachers said they liked having summer school at Kerr because it enables them to see what works and what doesn’t, allows their students to work at their own pace and gives teachers more flexibility to have an enjoyable time.

“Summer school here is a dream,” English teacher Ayn Nys said. “It’s more work than you’d get at another place, but there [is] so much restriction at other schools. You’re constantly sitting in a seat, having the teacher lecture to you, or doing work, not moving around. It goes so slowly. If you don’t work as slow pace as someone else, you get frustrated, you can’t leave early. You don’t have the flexibility; the teacher makes the deadlines, not you.”

Because Kerr already works at an extremely fast-paced schedule and summer school only accelerates it further, more class time is spent on courses which allow for students to truly work at their own pace and on their own deadlines.

“You do have to read a lot faster, you do have to write a lot faster, but I saw a lot of students do better with that than they did during the school year,” Nys said. “My students made their own deadline sheets. I gave them some deadlines but they gave me the rest of their deadlines, when they were going to complete things.”

One thing that both teachers and students enjoyed was that summer school  allowed students to leave early.

“The other rule was, if you had a ride and you had all your stuff done, you could leave,” she said. “So basically, there’s a lot more flexibility during the summer school time than there is during the school year. We don’t have the same set of guidelines that we do during the school year.”

Late registration for this year’s Summer School will be June 6 and class begins on June 7 and runs until July 8.

The courses offered for original credit include US Government and Economics; remedial classes include English I, II and II and math courses.

Overall, both students and teachers enjoy summer school here and both liked the change and recommend that it continue to be held here in future years.

“I think [the change] is awesome,” Nys said. “If I could run every summer school like we ran it last year at Kerr, I would do it — if I was the principal, I would do it.”