Yasmeen Khan is a reporter covering education. You can find her stories on the air and on SchoolBook.org, WNYC’s education website.
Summer School is in session. Starting on Monday, students who did not meet the criteria to move on to the next grade return to the classroom. They have about one month to master the skills they need to pass a state test, and possibly be promoted.
This year's state English and math tests were harder, aligned to new Common Core learning standards, which may have led to a crowded summer school session. But the city's Department of Education said there should not be a significant increase in attendance this summer.
The D.O.E. recommended students for summer school who scored in the bottom 10th percentile on the tests, up from those who scored in the 8th percentile last year, said Erin Hughes, a department spokeswoman. In recent years, the D.O.E. recommended summer school for students whose scores ranged from the eighth to the 11th percentile, she said.
Other than the more challenging state tests this spring, little has changed with the city's structure or scheduling of summer school.
Elementary and middle school students will attend school four hours a day, four days a week, for a total of 16 instructional days. They will take a multiple choice test at the end of the term which will cover "common core topics," said Hughes, "but the test itself will not be more rigorous than prior summer school tests."
She said Common Core-aligned summer school tests would be phased in over the next few years.
High school students attend summer school for a bit longer: They will work five-hour days, five days a week for a total of 26 days in summer school. They, too, will take exams at the end of the term.
The D.O.E. is also running enrichment programs, meant for students who do not have to be in school, including a second year of Summer Quest which is meant to combat summer learning loss associated disproportionately with low-income students. SchoolBook covered the pilot program last year.
Other enrichment programs include an institute to prepare for the Specialized High School Admissions Test, a program devoted to arts education and a career and technical education program, which combines classroom time and a paid internship.