2018 Summer Academy

Summer Academy Opportunities Bring More Enrollments, Fewer Absences
Posted on 07/25/2018
Summer Academy students work on their STEM projects, building suspension bridges.Each spring, school districts across Minnesota invite students to summer school based on eligibility standards determined by the state. By state law, school districts must invite more students than just those performing below grade-level. Students who speak English as a second language, who had truancy issues during the year, who are reported to have specific circumstances at home, who have experienced mental health issues, or who are affected by a list of other factors are also invited to summer school for additional support. Though the number of invited students has remained steady over time and those invited are not required to enroll in summer school, Inver Grove Heights Schools Summer Academy staff saw an increase of 15-20% in enrollments of invited students after making adjustments to their program over the past three years.

ISD 199 has worked to make Summer Academy more accommodating for families and more engaging for students so children get the continued support they need to best reach their potential. In 2016, the district began providing free busing, breakfast, and lunch for all students and adjusting Summer Academy hours to four-day weeks so families could enjoy their summer Fridays together. In 2017, the program introduced enrichment classes. The new addition has allowed staff to design a class around something they’re passionate about and has allowed students to try new and fun activities in the enrichment classes of their choice. Classes have included theatre, STEM, coding, foreign language, and dance lessons in addition to a wide range of other activities.

As these changes were implemented, the district saw an increase in student engagement and motivation as well as a decrease in absences. Middle School Summer Academy even recognized 26 students for perfect attendance this year, inviting them to celebrate their last day of Summer Academy with fudge pops and a chance to launch water balloons at coordinator Ben Kissling with a giant slingshot.

ISD 199 continues to work on making Summer Academy an appealing and enriching experience for students and families so every student receives the support they need.